Walk of faith resumes after four-year break

Display of devotion: The processional float and parishioners leaving Church of the Assumption on Farquhar Street at the start of the Corpus Christi Eucharistic procession in George Town. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: The Corpus Christi Eucharistic procession here saw a 1,200-strong congregation coming together for a walk of faith, the first such event to be held after a lapse of four years.

From the Church of the Assumption in Farquhar Street, the procession went down Penang Road, Burmah Road and Kinta Lane, before ending at the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows in Macalister Road on Sunday evening.

Parishioners held candles and were in good spirits as they followed the processional float carrying the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance along the 2km route.

Among them was sales and marketing manager Hilary Nathan, 56, who had his wife and four children in tow.

“It’s a great feeling to walk the streets led by Christ. More so as we got to participate together as a family,” he said, adding that he felt the sense of unity among fellow believers.

IT specialist Emilena Maria, 26, also loved how parishioners from different churches all came together as one family and were able to bond.

“Everyone was looking out for each other during the walk. They helped keep an eye on traffic and even distributed water around.

“This definitely brought me closer to God. Worshipping together is different than doing it alone as you feel the fellowship,” she added.

The procession also attracted several tourists, like an American who only wanted to be known as Michael D. He described the experience as “really powerful”.

“I was struck by how diverse the crowd was. You have people from different ethnic backgrounds across the social spectrum all coming together.

“Even the Holy Mass earlier was conducted in four different languages. We don’t have that back home,” said the 39-year-old speech therapist who was visiting Malaysia for the first time and had explored the rainforests in Sabah and Sarawak before coming over to Penang.

“A family member of mine used to live here and said it’s a place I must visit if I’m ever in the country. I learnt of the procession from a tour guide while visiting another attraction,” Michael added.

The procession, a joint effort by five Catholic churches across the Penang Island Deanery, was the first to be held in four years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Leading Holy Mass at the Church of the Assumption was Monsignor Jude Miranda, the parish priest of the Church of the Immaculate Conception and dean of the Penang Island Deanery.

Joining him in the celebration were parish priest of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Father Joachim Robert, and parish priest of City Parish, Father Edmund Woon.

City Parish assistant priest Father Desmond Jansen expressed joy at being able to witness the faith of parishioners once again during the procession.

“This walk of faith is a symbol of our unity as Catholics, as we journey together as one people of God,” he said.

Corpus Christi (which is Latin for ‘Body of Christ’) is also known as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

It holds great significance in the Roman Catholic calendar as it commemorates the presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

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