The last Christmas Day of the millienium on the beautiful island of Penang saw the launching of the Jubilee Year 2000 (Diocesan level) at the Cathedral of the Assumption by our beloved Bishop of Penang Rt Rev Anthony Selvanayagam.
Early morning saw the faithful from the different parishes on Penang Island gathered to celebrate the Jubilee as a significant experience in a spirit of communion and to respond to our Bishop's call to journey towards the Eucharistic Congress 2000 with the keen determination to understand the Eucharist.
Before mass began, our Filipino brothers and sisters sang a medley iof Christmas carols to set us all in the right spiritual mood for a most auspicious celebration.
Mass began at 10.30am with our Bishop as the main celebrant assisted by other priests, Unity within diversity was displayed as the hymns for the mass were of different languages - English, Mandarin, Tamil, Bahasa Malaysia and Tagalog.
Our Bishop's homily touched the hearts of the faithful as he stressed on the importance of living the Eucharist in our daily life as a Christ-centered family and how we should respond to the Pope's invitation to follow him through the "Holy Door" to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour - the Word Made Flesh.
Gifts offered to our Lord during the offertory were most meaningful. The faithful brought with them the Jubilee year scroll signifying the 2000th year after the birth of Jesus Christ expressing our deepened commitment towards Unity, Peace and Hope in our community; the Family Prayer Books reaffirming our commitment towards holding daily prayers in our homes; a Christmas log cake signifying our willingness to share the season's joy and abundance with our brothers and sisters: bread and wine expressing our faith in the Eucharist presence of Christ; and the collection symbolising the fruits of our labour for the glorification of the Church.
Before mass ended, Bishop Anthony was called upon to bless the Family Prayer Books. These books were prepared by the Penang diocese to help families to pray together as models of the domestic church.
After mass, a launching ceremony was held in front of our Lady's grotto whereby Bishop Anthony released a bunch of ballons that carried along with it the Jubilee year calendar amidst the singing of a most aptly chosen hymn, On this day, oh beautiful Mother".