Category: News @ Melaka.

Devotees flock St.Paul’s Hill to attend celebration

By PERCY D’CRUZ

Malacca: Thousands of Catholics from all over Malaysia and Singapore including many non-Christian devotees converged at St. Paul’s Hill right in the heart of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site in Jalan Kota to commemorate the feast of St. Francis Xavier.

Traditionally, it is the 1849-built Jalan Banda Kaba parish church of St. Francis Xavier described as the Apostle of The East and Patron of Missionaries, that organises the celebrations. This year it took place from November 29 to December 5. Items on the celebratory programme included talks, novenas and early night masses, which were conducted at the church.

The celebrations highlight and finale were two thanksgiving Eucharistic Celebrations conducted at a specially erected altar at the rear of the saint’s empty tomb amidst the ruins and roofless St. Paul’s Church.

In all six local clerics presided at the services. They included Frs. John Yoew, Moses Rayappan, M.Devadasan, Cyril Mannayagam, Francis Ng and Joseph Du.

St Francis in the course of spreading the faith to Malaya, the East Indies and the Far East, died on December 3, 1552 on Sancian Island off mainland China.

His body was temporarily laid atop St. Paul’s Hill between March and December 1563. It was then moved to Goa’s Basilica Bom Jesus, which is the saint’s final resting place.

The saint’s missionary contributions was so highly regarded by the Vatican that St. Francis was made a saint on March 12, 1662. This also accorded Malacca, the headquarters of the saint’s apostolic work in the region, an honourable status in the worldwide Catholic map.

Since September 2000, the Malacca Museums Corporation has spent close to RM2 million on restoration and beautification work of the St. Paul’s Hill ruins and its immediate surroundings.

This has lead to the hill complex being included on the Wold Heritage List in conjunction with the inscription of Malacca as a historical city under the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.

History notes that St. Paul’s Hill, to the Portuguese Catholic community, was a place of worship and was also the hallowed grounds where St. Francis Xavier walked and preached.

To the Dutch, it was a Protestant church and a burial ground for their nobles as well as a fortress while to the British, the hill was an artillery bastion and a lookout point overseeing the Straits of Malacca.

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Category: News @ Melaka