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REMAINING STEADFAST IN OUR MISSION


As the Parish of St Thomas, Kuantan celebrates its Feast Day and 118 years of its establishment, the Feast Day committee has made a significant decision to mark this occasion by holding a public procession with the Blessed Sacrament on Saturday, July 6, 2024, being the sixth-day celebration of the Feast Day Novena and Mass. This tradition, observed on Corpus Christi and parish feast days, holds great significance within the Catholic Church, particularly in our spiritual intimacy with the Blessed Sacrament.

 

We took the first step by submitting the application for a Police permit through our committee member, a retired Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Tuan William Fernandez, a month before the celebrations began. On 28 June 2024, we were invited to meet with the Special Branch to discuss details of the procession and the instruments we intended to carry along, such as the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament, the cross, candles, banners from each BEC representative, the total number of participants, and other matters. We explained to them the crucial of each item in the solemnity and reverence of the procession. We had a productive meeting with the Special Branch police officers.

 

The Secretariat of the Officer in Charge of Police District (OCPD) of Kuantan invited a few committee members, including myself, to meet with the Tuan OCPD, Wan Mohd Zahari Bin Wan Busu, on Tuesday, 2 July 2024, at 3.00 pm at his office. Two representatives from the feast day committee members, June Thoo, Clement Lim, and I, eagerly attended the meeting, hoping to return with the permit. During our meeting, nine other department heads, such as Special Branch Officers, Patrol Officers, Traffic Police, Crime Investigators, and others, were present. We had a pleasant and constructive hour-long conversation with Tuan OCPD and his team.

Tuan OCPD was a very humble person, and he spoke to us in a polite and respectful manner. During the conversation, he stressed the “sensitivity” that could be triggered in certain individuals regarding our proposed procession through the town, especially the carrying of the Monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament and Cross. On our part, we re-emphasised the profound significance of the Blessed Sacrament held during the procession, a symbol of our spiritual connection with the Divine.

 

We, too, agreed to their request to have the procession commence only after their Maghrib prayer time. Although they seemed hesitant to provide immediate approval, they assured us that a decision would be made within a few days. During the Novena Masses, I requested everyone to pray for the success of our application to hold the procession. The police response, dated 4 July 2024, stated that the procession is not an absolute necessity for religious practice and is not listed as an annual activity in the calendar.

 

Despite the authority’s last-minute rejection of our request, we remain steadfast in our mission to celebrate and proclaim Jesus as “Our Lord and Our God!” We are disappointed with their decision but resolute in moving forward with our faith. We question the rights to "freedom of religion" and the promotion of religious and racial harmony stand in our nation, but we are determined to continue with the celebration as the psalmist expresses, “Lead me, O Lord, in Your justice,” (cf. Psalm 5:8).


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Carol Soon
Carol Soon
Jul 05

A happening parish, Fr George. Keep going.. God bless you and community..

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