“120 Years of Faithfulness”

By James Gough

At the altar (l-r) Fr Cheah, Bishop Selvanayagam and Fr Chong

Church of St Michael Ipoh recently celebrated its 120th Anniversary with a mass and procession.

Themed ‘120 Years of Faithfulness’, the mass was celebrated by Bishop Antony Selvanayagam, of Penang Diocese together with Parish Priest Fr Michael Cheah and his assistant Fr Anthony Chong on a huge canopied stage in the church’s car park.

The main event of the celebration was a procession starting from the church onto Jalan Sultan Idris Shah (Brewster Road) then turning into Jalan Sultan Iskandar (Hugh Low Street) and Jalan Raja Ekram (Cowan Street) before returning to Jalan Sultan Idris Shah and the church.

The Monstrance being escorted by Fr Chong

The procession was led by the Sam Tet School Band followed by the church ministry’s and BEC (Basic Ecclesiastical Community) groups. The Statue of Patron Saint, St Michael the Archangel, was mounted behind a 4-wheel drive. The Monstrance also followed the procession and was escorted by Fr Anthony Chong.

The St Michael’s Church was initially built of timber and atap in 1890 by Father Emille Bavillion at the location where the Main Convent is now. The present building was completed in 1924 during the time of parish priest Fr Jean B Coppine. Its entrance featured twin towers and Gothic Arches.

The statue of patron saint St Michael the Archangel atop the 4 wheel drive used for the procession

Its patron saint, St Michael the Archangel, is located at the niche above the white marble altar and is flanked in stain glass by St John The Baptist, on the left and St Joseph with the child Jesus on the right.
Five years ago Fr Cheah initiated to upgrade the structure of the church as well as the surrounding buildings. Additions included an outdoor stations-of-the-cross and a water fountain with a bronze statue of the patron saint above it. The church is air conditioned.

According to Fr Cheah the total cost of work done was “around RM2 million”. Fr Cheah was transferred to St Michael’s five and a half years ago from St Anne’s Church Bukit Mertajam. His next post come November will be in Penang.

St Michael’s Church is a historical building.