Its Christmas and the Churches around Ipoh have been busy putting up the Nativity Play depicting the birth of Jesus Christ.
For OMPH Church the preparation for the play was done by the Sunday school teachers and began at the beginning of November after the end of the PMR examination. Parents / teachers and former students helped organize the script, rearrange the music and design the set. The week before opening night saw a daily hive of activity.
The result was a successful show which saw the audience’s lively participation in the carol singing and children listening attentively with wide eyes to the play.
Over at the Church of St Michael Ipoh their show was a similar success with many parishioners and public, praising the organizers for a good show even though the play was in the Chinese dialect. For most of the audience, it was the Nativity Play, where everyone knew the script by heart.
The play at St Michaels was organised by the Chinese Apostolate group. This was their first ever effort and due to the encouragement of former Parish Priest Fr Michael Cheah. This being their first time, their preparations started in August. Their show was held over 3 nights. The show has been invited to perform in Play Penang and will be performing at the Holy Spirit Cathedral Hall on 26 December.
According to the spokesmen from both the churches the importance of staging the Nativity Play was to instill in children the real meaning of Christmas and its origins. From the way the children had been attentively listening I believe the message got through.
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.