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Monica Quek’s Reflections at St Jude Church Celebrations

NOVEMBER 3, 2019: Once you get off the North-South Expressway at Gopeng and take a right, you’ll see a tiny church perched on a little hill on your left.

That little church got all spruced up recently to celebrate her 100th anniversary on Oct 27, 2019. The lawn was all mowed, the paths were all tarred, the flooring tiled, the roof repaired, and the pews that were as old as the church had a new coat of paint. All this was the result of the collective effort of the parishioners, well-wishers, and the parish priest and congregation at St Joseph’s Church in Batu Gajah.

It was a joint celebration that Sunday – the centennial festivities and the annual Feast Day of St Jude – and this saw a huge turnout from different parts of the country.

One of the readers of Journey With Us – Asia, Monica Quek from Petaling Jaya, wrote to us and had this to say:

The mass in St Jude’s Church in Gopeng during its centennial and feast day celebrations on Oct 27, 2019. Photo courtesy of: Monica Quek

“My husband and I had a good, fruitful, enjoyable spiritual journey. I am truly blessed and privileged that we were able to attend and witness the celebration.”

Bishop Sebastian Francis, who is the Bishop of the Penang Diocese, celebrated mass by detailing the history of the church and recollected the church’s glory days and the principles which guided St Jude.

“The beautiful homily was so powerful and meaningful that it had such a huge impact on me. I felt inspired and invigorated and the Bishop’s message touched my hungry heart,” said Quek.

She added that her husband who has hearing issues could hear every word the Bishop said. That in itself was a miracle, according to her.

“I’m so glad I came. I know and learnt about the ministries, contributions, sacrifices and services made by priests in general to the church and community through the homily. They are all worthy of God’s praises and blessings.”

What touched her most was when the Bishop spoke about minds being polluted with divisions. “Such as judgments and ostracisms that are prevalent today. Gossips, hatred, anger, lies, envy, jealousy, violence so on and so forth, that have made men greedy and that impurities, iniquities of sins have lead to corruption, abuses, deceit and all these have corroded the hearts of many and caused disdain and anger towards God’s teachings.

“He reminded us to be vigilant in our faith, hope, to exercise endurance, perseverance and to pray. This is St Jude’s personal request, that we must be obedient to God, pray for hope, love, peace and truth,for us to enter the kingdom of Heaven.”  

Quek felt the reminders Bishop Sebastian gave was timely. “He reminded us that St Jude wants us to not whine, groan, grumble and moan, and with so many complaints. But to be truthful, be kind and to pray, to always be thankful to God for his blessings.”

Quek said that soon after the homily, the rain came pouring like sheets and the procession had to be cancelled. But once the Holy Communion was distributed, the rain started to ease.

For Quek, it was as though “the Lord heard our prayers through the intercession of St Jude.”

Altar boys getting ready. Photo sourced from St Jude’s Church Facebook page.

Once mass was over, it was time for dinner. “Dinner was good for we were famished. We finished our food quick. Every plate was polished so clean that we could see reflections of our satisfied looks and our gleeful smiles and happy faces. Praised God for warm meals in that cold rainy weather. It was an enjoyable trip, fun, camaraderie and good cheers.”

Quek, her husband and friends Clement and Jennifer reached their homes in Petaling Jaya past midnight, happy and satisfied for a day well spent.

“Praises to God for a wonderful experience, and to St Jude, Bishop Sebastian, Father Edmond Woon (of the St Joseph’s Church in Batu Gajah) for celebrating mass.

“I wish many Catholics would make the best of the pilgrimages that are available. Not just the ones overseas but also the ones here in Malaysia. There is so much to learn, so much to give and do.”

Malaysia has three St Jude’s churches – one in Gopeng and the others in Rawang, Selangor, and Paloh, Johor.

Journey With Us -Asia would like to thank Monica Quek for sending us her personal reflection and photo for publication.