PILGRIMS from near and far flocked to St Anne’s Church in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, to take part in a candlelight procession on the feast day of the annual Novena and Feast.
The event saw 7,000 pilgrims walking behind a beautifully decorated float bearing the statues of St Anne and her daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Many of the pilgrims carried candles, rosary beads and fresh flowers.
Girls wearing floral head wreaths taking part in the candlelight procession.
Penang Catholic diocese bishop Rev Datuk Sebastian Francis earlier celebrated mass before leading the procession around the nearby Kampung Baru area and back to the church in Jalan Kulim.
The procession on Thursday started at 8.45pm and ended an hour later.
The float, decorated with flowers and lights, was pulled by a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
During the 3km procession, the public address system played Gregorian chants as pilgrims said the rosary and other prayers.
St Anne’s Church Bukit Mertajam parish priest Monsignor Henry Rajoo and several other priests from other churches also took part.
Lorry driver M. Riboud, 59, from Bandar Tasik Mutiara, Simpang Ampat, came with his wife A. Kelera, 59, son R. Zico Narretha, 33, daughter-in-law M. Rosalina, 25, and granddaughters Priyanka, 12, and Priyaanjalina, eight.
Tan and family members offering prayers and thanks.
“I’ve been coming here since I was 18. We are Catholics and it is our family’s tradition to come here annually without fail,” said Kelera, who was also one of the volunteers at the feast celebration.
Tan Ting Wan, 56, a printing machine operator from Butterworth, also brought his family to the celebration.
“We are here for prayers and thanksgiving during St Anne’s feast,” he said.
Sisters R. Vishalam, 68, and R. Selvi, 70, from Kuala Lumpur, said they had been paying an annual pilgrimage to St Anne’s feast for the last 20 years.
A grand candlelight procession will be held today at 9.30pm in the church compound after mass to be celebrated by Rev Joseph Salvador Marino, the apostolic nuncio and ambassador of the Vatican to Malaysia at 8pm.
This will be followed by a modern gospel concert by Revival Praise band from Kuala Lumpur at 10.30pm.
The float carrying the statues of St Anne and her daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, is taken on a 3km journey during the St Anne’s Novena and Feast Day celebration. — Photos: CHAN BOON KAI/The Star