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Saturday April 23, 2011

Bad weather on Good Friday

PETALING JAYA: Grey skies and a heavy downpour reflected the sombre mood by which Christians in the country gathered to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ some 2,000 years ago.

Almost a thousand parishioners braved the strong winds to attend the 3pm Good Friday mass at the St Francis Xavier Church here yesterday.

Parish priest Father Simon Yong, who led the mass, said although there were two other sessions, most people preferred to attend the one in the afternoon.

A solemn celebration: Yong carrying a cross for the Veneration of the Cross at the St Francis Xavier Church during Good Friday mass. — S.S.KANESAN/The Star

“They feel a connection to the time Christ was said to have died, which was about 3pm,” said Yong of the mass, the highlight of which was the special Veneration of the Cross when devotees lined up to kiss the cross.

Parishioners also took part in the Holy Communion during the two-hour mass in the church, which had pictures, crosses and statues of Christ covered with purple cloth to symbolise mourning.

Observed on the Friday before Easter Sunday, Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion, an act that Christians believe atoned for the sins of humanity.

It is the most solemn day in the Christian calendar.

In GEORGE TOWN, more than 1,000 worshippers, including those from Indonesia, the Philippines and India, congregated at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Green Lane to mark the sombre event.

With all the pews in the church being occupied, some devotees had to remain standing for the 90-minute mass.

A worshipper, who only wished to be known as Angie, 28, said she only had half-a-meal of bread and water for the day.

“Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence, during which Catholics also do not take meat,” she said.

In Sabah where Good Friday is a public holiday, thousands of Christians attended special services in churches, most of which began at 3pm with the Adoration of the Cross ceremonies.

At the Sacred Heart Cathedral, the 3pm service in Bahasa Malaysia had some 3,500 parishioners thronging the church as well as the adjacent parish hall.

Tonight, a vigil will be held at churches before Easter Sunday, which celebrates the resurrection of Christ.

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