BUKIT MERTAJAM: Engineer C. Gunaseelan and his wife N. Kalaiarasi brought their six-month-old baby Yelani to St Anne’s annual Novena and Feast Day for the first time to fulfil a vow.
Gunaseelan said his wife had made a vow before the baby was born, and that they wanted Yelani to be blessed on feast day.
“I’m so impressed with the celebrations. I intend to make it an annual trip in the coming years,” said the 29-year-old on Thursday.
Federick Tan, 45, from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah said he and his family never miss taking part in the celebrations.
“When I was young, I fell sick but after praying to St Anne’s, I was cured. After that, my parents told me to attend the feast annually.
“Today, I am here with my children. We will never miss it as I believe my family has been blessed and protected,” he said.
Some 7,000 people took part in a candlelight procession where pilgrims from near and far walked behind a beautifully decorated float bearing the statues of St Anne and her daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, on a 3km journey from the church in Jalan Kulim.
The procession, which started at about 8.45pm, passed through Jalan Kg Baru, Jalan Berjaya and Jalan Maju before returning to the starting point at about 9.45pm.
Along the way, the public address system played Gregorian chants in Latin as pilgrims recited the rosary and other prayers.
St Anne’s Church parish priest Monsignor Henry Rajoo and priests from other churches also took part in the procession.
The feast is celebrated by Catholics to honour Jesus Christ’s maternal grandmother St Anne.
A grand candlelight procession will be held in the church compound today at 9.30pm, following mass by Penang Bishop Datuk Sebastian Francis at 8pm.
Rev Joseph Salvador Marino, the apostolic nuncio and ambassador of the Vatican to Malaysia, will also be present.
This will be followed by a modern gospel concert by the Revival Praise band from Kuala Lumpur at 10.30pm.