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The celebration of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum this year proceeded smoothly, meaningfully and prayerfully in our Parish of St Thomas, Kuantan. It was truly an exciting celebration for all of us, as we were finally allowed to increase the seating capacity in Church. We had overwhelming crowds at every Mass and Service during the Triduum and in order to be able to accommodate everyone, we increased the seating capacity by putting up canopies at the open spaces within the Church compound. We strictly and diligently adhered to all safety measures throughout the celebrations.

The celebration of Jesus’ resurrection to new life has turned out to be the greatest and most joyful celebration during this endemic. As for me, it was my second celebration of Holy Week and Easter Triduum with the St Thomas’ community. My first, was when I was posted as assistant Parish Priest, way back in 2003. I was then a newly ordained priest, and I felt nervous and anxious before and during the celebrations. With some experience under my belt, I am now more confident in celebrating the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Victorious King.

I was quite happy journeying with my Parishioners throughout this Lent season and preparing them spiritually. However, when Lent first started, I felt uneasy as my heart was not at peace. I couldn’t be physically present to kick-start the season on Ash Wednesday and on the 1st Sunday of Lent as I was in self-quarantine. I felt spiritually low but gradually I geared up and got into the momentum of the Lenten journey with the rest of my congregation.

After celebrating in a quieter manner the past two years, this year we had an opportunity to celebrate the glorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus by gathering together all our parishioners. The Parish Integral Human Development committee (PIHDM) took the initiative of inviting our indigenous people (orang asli) from Kuala Rompin for the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday Masses. Approximately 40 orang asli and 30 migrants from Indonesia and Vietnam participated in our celebrations and we provided them with the necessary accommodation for the night in the Church compound. We also had our local varsity and Maritime students and army personnel from East Malaysia attending and celebrating with us throughout the Holy Week and Triduum.

I personally felt great joy seeing new life emerge in our Parish community as many Parishioners have come back to Church in-person after a long absence during the pandemic. Let us move forward spreading peace, love and joy among all our Parishioners during this Easter season and beyond.

May the Easter season bring an end to all our misunderstandings, conflicts and unforgiveness. Let us go forth and proclaim our Lord and King by singing the Easter Song – “My Lord, He died for a kingdom, to redeem the hearts of men. Now my people, don’t you weep, He has risen from His sleep. He lives again, Alleluia.”

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