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Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Cameron Highlands

Isaiah 40:31

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

The Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel sits proud and strong on one of the highest parts of the country. Its roofs and structure look small and yet it stands out in the rolling green and blue mountains of Cameron Highlands. God’s church in the midst of His beautiful handcrafted creation.

All around is nothing but green jungle covering the highlands with pockets of civilisation reminding you that it is nature that is dominating force here and man is the migrant.

And it is always in such situations that bring me closer to God. Whether it is the beach, jungles or mountains. These places are, for the most part of it, still in their purest form just as how God had made them. Untouched by technology, finance and power.

Which is how I felt as I walked into the church on that chilly evening on July 14 for the church’s feast day. I felt like I had stepped into a postcard. It is probably the highest church in the country at an elevation of 1,440 metres, on the highland spine that ran through the peninsula. 

The wind blew from the mountains into the church as the bright sunny yet chilly day slowly makes way for the bed of stars that were peering from behind a blue-black sky.

By this time, the mass is over and parish priest Rev Fr John Gnanapragasam leads his congregation around the church for the annual procession.  It was quietly done, parishioners following in prayerful mood and ended with a celebratory fellowship dinner. The sound of chatting pierced through the stillness of the night.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid-13th century. Our Lady of Mount Carmel was adopted in the 19th century as the patron saint of Chile, in South America. The feast day for Our Lady of Mount Carmel falls on July 16.