Friday, 2 December 2011

First Sunday of Advent at Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at Johore Bahru

About this time each year, Catholics observe the season of Advent, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. It is the beginning of the liturgical year and commences on First Sunday of Advent.
For the Roman Catholic, Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before December 25, the Sunday from November 27 to December 3 inclusive.    My wife and I decided to have a refreshing start for the new liturgical year by attending the mass for First Sunday of Advent away from Singapore, 26 November 2011 at Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at Taman Sri Tebrau, Johore ( West Malaysia ).

The word Advent derives from the Latin word meaning coming, and is commonly used in reference to the second coming of Christ. During Advent Catholics recall the history of God's people, and reflect on how the prophecies and promises of the Old Testament were fulfilled. This gives us a background for the present. Today we can reflect on the past track record of God and so begin to understand what it means to us now for the sake of what is to come, in our own future and that of our world.

The church is located along Jalan Keris, off Jalan Tebrau. I paid MR 1.20 for the bus trip from City Square ( next to the Malaysia checkpoint ), and alighted at the bus stop beside Crystal Crown Hotel near the prominent billboard ( above ). The hotel is beside one Tesco Hypermarket ( behind the 'Rustica' bill board ) along Jalan Dato Sulaiman. The hotel is located before the second major junction ( + junction ) from City Square.

The season of Advent serves as a reminder both of the original waiting that was done by the Hebrews for the birth of their Messiah as well as the waiting of Christians for Christ's return. The above adoration room at the cathedral afforded us that sense of serenity and inspiration to reflect on the first coming of Jesus Christ as savior and to his second coming as judge.

The theme of bible readings and teachings during Advent is often to prepare for the Second Coming while commemorating the First Coming of Christ at Christmas.
The Nativity (depicting the place, conditions, circumstances, etc of the birth of Jesus Christ) was done up at the cathedral in time for the season of Advent.

There could not be a better place to locate the display other than at the spot where we ask Mother Mary to intercede for us to the Lord. Incidentally, this is also the open space leading to the adoration room at the corner (spot the hanging blue sign ?).

How I wish the church volunteers had temporarily switched the light display to purple for the season. The purple colour is often used for hangings around the church, on the vestments of the clergy, and often also the tabernacle for the season of Advent.

In Advent, the Advent Prose, an antiphonal plainsong, may be sung. The "Late Advent Weekdays", December 17–24, mark the singing of the Great Advent 'O antiphons'. These are the antiphons for the Evening Prayer each day, and mark the forthcoming birth of the Messiah. They form the basis for each verse of the popular Advent hymn, "O come, O come, Emmanuel".
Advent is also observed as a season of penitence, and dancing or other similar festivities are forbidden. Father John Baptist Yoew had added during his homily that parishioners should perhaps make an effort for this year's advent to pray for someone (whom we have yet to make peace with) each day.

From the 4th century the season was kept as a period of fasting as strict as that of Lent. This fasting rule has been relaxed, and we had no problem savouring the food at the nearby centre ( 50 metres away ). The next time round, we would head for the rows of popular Klang Bak Kut Teh (spice-flavoured pork-ribs soup) opposite the centre. The lane that leads to the once-popular Sentosa Complex.
We left the church with very pleasant feelings about the kampung-style atmosphere. Above: Sitting in the sanctuary near the wide and inviting doors on the left-side of the sanctuary was such a wonderful and breezy experience, especially when you have and are in the full view of other parishioners strolling in through the main gate for mass.

Above: Parish hall of the church. The backyard was just as interesting and breezy. It borders on Wisma Tiong Hua (Chinese Chamber of Commerce) which can be seen from afar, and is an easy landmark to identify with if you were lost driving along the Tebrau Highway to the church.

English Mass Times

Saturday Novena : 5.30pm

Saturday Sunset  : 6.00pm
Sunday Morning   : 7.45am
Sunday Evening   : 6.00pm

Public Transport

Bus Service             :   39, 133 & 208
Bus Fare                 :   MR1.30


MOTBERG said...

Hi David,

I found your blog post through google and you have some very nice pictures of SHC. I am helping maintain the church website and was wondering if we can use some of the shots you have. We'll credit you in the photos as well. I can't find your contact on your blog, so I am hoping you can see it in the comments section. Please feel free to contact me for more information. Thank you.

Sia Boon Sen aka David Sia 佘 益 德 said...

Please share with others, Motberg.