Monday, October 16, 2006

Life-size statues - response

Passion statues were sponsored

I would like to express my view on Dr Chris Anthony’s comments regarding the ‘Life-size statues of the Passion of Christ for St Anne’s, B.M.’ (HERALD, Sept 3).

How often do we hear of such a negative stereotyped comment on a worthy project which is deemed ‘expensive’, that “the vast majority of people will never be able to experience Him in their lives.” I am equally amused by his remark on whether we are “really following Him”. Really??

The construction of the life-size statues of the Passion of Christ had been given much thought and deliberation before it was carried out with great conviction. That all the 15 stations have been sponsored readily during St Anne’s Feast speaks well not only of the generosity of the donors, but also the fact that the project is well accepted.

Having said that, I would like to touch on the status quo of Pusat Haemodialisis St Anne. At the moment, it is operating at its full capacity with 11 machines and 29 patients. As a charitable organisation, it depends on constant donations for its maintenance and operation. We are indeed glad that donations during this year’s St Anne’s Feast are more than the previous years, showing that it is not affected at all by the simultaneous appeal for donations to the stations of the cross.

I thank Dr Chris Anthony for his great concern for the dialysis centre.

I would cordially invite him to be a regular donor to the centre.

Joseph Lim
(Vice-Chairman, Pusat Haemodialisis St. Anne)

Looking at the bigger picture

In response to Dr Anthony’s letter in the Sept 3 issue of the HERALD (Are we really following Christ?), these words of St Augustine come to my mind.

He prayed, “You, O God, are more intimate to me than I to myself. And when I pray, I do not pray to Someone who is outside my heart but to Someone who opens the door to my heart from within.”

Don’t let myopia cloud the bigger picture facing us. Look at the splendour of the Vatican, the spellbinding Sistine Chapel, Chartres Cathedral, otherwise known as the Cathedral of Notre Dame and various buildings of utmost beauty and holiness.

These were most certainly questioned and lives lost for them. But now we stand in awe of them. Though not in the same breadth, our beautiful Church of St Anne brings pride to us and of course not for tuppence did we build it but it has etched our era into the pages of history of the Church in Malaysia and Asia, to be remembered for generations.

The stations of the Cross on the other hand, complement this stature and remind us of the essence of our faith, the suffering, crucifixion and death of Christ. This is the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is the heartbeat of our community. It is the living memorial of the saving event — the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. The significance of this is beyond measure.

So let all pilgrims share in the life of Christ and let all future generations stand in awe for what it signifies, bringing hope to all people in all ways.

Let us look at the bigger picture instead.

Dr Mary L Fernandez
Bkt Mertajam

Does a large flag portray patriotism?

First we had the costly life-size statues of the Passion of Christ (HERALD, July 16) at St Anne’s Church in Bukit Mertajam. Now we have a “large flag-cum-banner” the Jalur Gemilang. What is happening at the sanctuary of the grandmother of our Lord?

The costly life-size statutes were supposed to help pilgrims to have a prayerful and spiritual experience. Dr Anthony in his letter (HERALD, Sept 3) asked correctly if it is necessary to spend more than half a million to do that? I agree with him that the money could have been used for more worthy causes such as adding more dialysis machines to the St Anne’s Dialysis Centre or even building shelters for the poor pilgrims who come annually for the Feast of St Anne. At present there is no place for them to spend the night since some of them come from so far away and cannot afford the cost of hotels which is so prohibitive.

Do we need such a large flag-cum-banner to inspire a feeling of patriotism or are we just showing off to the passers-by “who will surely stop and look at the flag”? Are we not emulating other mundane and meaningless feats by people who just want their picture and name in the media? Merely putting up giant banners and waving flags doesn’t mean one is patriotic as reflected by recent incidents when motorcyclists displaying Jalur Gemilang were speeding down highways — some of them not even wearing safety helmets. Patriotism can be instilled through spiritual formation in our catechism classes.


Statues add to prayer pilgrimage

I refer to Dr Chris Anthony’s letter, ‘Are we really following Christ’ in your Sept 3 issue.
I don’t believe there is anything wrong with purchasing the life-size statues of the Stations of the Cross. St Anne’s Church is, after all, a pilgrim church. The people who go there to pray, for penance as well as healing would, I’m sure, love to make the Way of the Cross a part of their pilgrimage.

Most pilgrim churches have these statues. It helps pilgrims in their prayer journey.
As for the cost, if anyone is willing to donate, then that is their perogative as ‘the heart has its reasons.’ If I had the money, I too would happily sponsor a statue. There have been Way of the Cross markers on the hill for more than a century and there are pilgrims that still make their journey there.

As for the dialysis centre, it is an on-going project. Increasing machines would mean an increase in staff. Fortunately, there are sponsors for these too.

Of course, the parish priest would have had the consensus of the parish committee before implementing the project.

Teresa Surian

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