Monday, 5 December 2011

Church of Saint Joseph at Plentong of Johor

On Saturday, 3 December 2011 (Second Sunday of Advent) we celebrated mass away from home at Church of St Joseph, Plentong in Johor (West Malaysia).

Opposite the church was the Cana Christian Church.   Both churches are located within a middle-class neighbourhood.

Although a plaque acknowledged contributors for fund-raising efforts in 2001 for the present church building, research showed that it was first established in 1970.

The kindergarten is just next to the main church building, that is on the left wing as we enter the main gate.

The sanctuary was not full when we were there for the sunset mass.   A parishioner assured us that there would be ample seats for mass.   

Although not indicated on the church website or bulletin, Novena was held at 5.30pm and we were fortunate to be in time for it.   Father Joseph Heng from Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus stood in for Parish Priest Father Anthony Ng  currently on medical leave.

As is obvious from the above picture on the rear of the church, the whole compound was well-maintained and free from clutters.

Identifying the nearest bus-stop for us to alight from public bus service 133 ( you could take 39 and 208 as well) was not easy despite some prior good advice from the parish secretary via email.   Incidentally, the bus fare from City Square, Jalan Wong Ah Fook to the church is MR2.70

Several passengers that we approached for assistance had not heard of  Jalan Bunga Raya that I quoted from the church's official address.   

We now know from hindsight that the above bridge would be a good landmark to look out for on our next trip up there.

The bus-stop is slightly after the bridge, and we took a 50-metre walk-back to enter Jalan Bunga Mawar that leads to the church (make a left turn at the T-junction, and another right turn shortly after to reach the church).

Across Jalan Bunga Mawar is a row of shophouses with 4 eating houses.   There are a sprinkle of Malay eating stalls on the same side of Jalan Bunga Mawar, but we did not find the food to our liking.

It takes about 5 minutes to walk out along Jalan Bunga Mawar to the main road.   It was a pleasant walk-through with terrace houses on both sides, especially with the various types of fruit trees that we hardly find in Singapore nowadays.

A fellow Malay passenger had mistakenly advised us to alight two bus-stops after the overhead bridge, and 'Wow' we suddenly saw the big signboard indicating ' Majodi ',   a retreat centre that I missed during my RCIA journey (SARS epidemic period).   Blessings in disguise !

I had thought that the centre was in some remote area further away from Church of St Joseph, and that I had to make a separate trip on another day for it.

We had a walk-about at Majodi Centre before heading for lunch across the road.

We stumbled across ' Ah Hua Kway Teow ' and decided to go for it (RM6.00 a bowl) as it seemed well-patronised by the locals.

Our orders came, and we realised that we were actually about to savour some abalone soup noodles.

The soup was tasty with two slices of abalone, some slices of liver and minced pork.   My dry noodle was a bit on the sweet side, probably because of the dark sauce used in the mix.

My only regret was Ah Hua does not serve coffee or tea with milk - only chinese tea (a few brews to choose from).

It rained very heavily when we were about to leave the church. Fellow parishioners that we happened to befriend before mass, Johnny Matthew Lim and wife offered to give us a lift to the nearest bus-stop.

We ended up having dinner together (generously paid for by the Lim family) before parting our separate ways at the bus-stop, outside The Store.

During the course of conversations, Johnny even offered to take us in for the night at his residence as the weather was not too good for our travelling back.

We witnessed unbelievable hospitality and 'opening of hearts' in practice by fellow catholics.

Click here for First Sunday of Advent at Sacred Heart of Jesus

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