Our Parish Feast Day is over, and we are grateful for the many blessings! I would like to thank the Feast Day committee members for their hard work and dedication in making our 9-days Novena Masses to St Thomas, as well as the thanksgiving celebration, a successful and meaningful experience for everyone. I know the workload was heavy for a small community, but together we made it possible! I truly admire and appreciate your dedication and contributions throughout the celebrations.
On Sunday, 3 July 2022, just before we began our 8.30 am Mass, we unveiled and blessed the image of the Divine Mercy near the sanctuary. Many people pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet since its inauguration in the year 2000 by Saint John Paul II, who then announced that the Second Sunday of Easter would also be known as Divine Mercy Sunday. It is an appropriate dedication, as the Gospel reading during that week speaks about St Thomas’ encounter with the Risen Lord eight days after the first apparition (cf. John 20:26ff). We are grateful to Miss Amie Tan Ai Mei who painted this Divine Mercy image.
Miss Amie has also painted and completed portraits of our parish priests, who have previously served and ministered at St Thomas Church, Kuantan since the 1950s, as well as a portrait of the Holy Father, Pope Francis. These portraits are displayed in the canteen recreation area so that we, the Parishioners, as well as visitors, can remember them with gratitude and prayer.
It is common to see the statues of Mother Mary and St Joseph on the left and right wings respectively, of the sanctuary in many churches. There is no hard and fast rule about this, and therefore we recently decided to relocate the carved wooden statues of Our Lady and St Joseph the Worker, by placing them side-by-side. It is to remind us that they are models of married life. We seek their intercessions for all young married couples to take each other as life-long partners by following the example of Mary and Joseph and be faithful and truthful in their marriages.
Traditionally, churches place the statue of their respective Parish’s patron saint either above the tabernacle or within the sanctuary. We have also seen that some churches have removed statues of their patron saint from the main sanctuary to replace it in favour of a crucifix in the center. At our Parish, we have relocated the carved wooden statue of our patron saint - St Thomas, the Apostle - from the main entrance to a more prominent place on the right corner of the Church. This corner of our Parish is now known as St Thomas Shrine. At this shrine, we have also displayed another image of St Thomas’ encounter with the Risen Lord, as well as the newly composed litany to St Thomas, the Apostle.
The significance, beauty and dignity of images and statues of our faith leads us to devotion and prayer. Together, let us keep the traditional practices of our Catholic Church alive!