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“Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.”

Church of Assumption Penangop
PENANG (Herald/CS): Catholic priests in Penang have urged their parishioners to continue keeping calm following two incidents Jan 26 and 27  that were meant to provoke religious tension.

Church of the Assumption (pic) parish priest Father Dominic Santhiyagu said that parishioners are happy that in the midst of the incidents, all segments of society and race have called to provide moral and spiritual support.

“We are sad that there are elements out to create mischief between the various communities.
“The church prays that peace and harmony will prevail at all times,” Santhiyagu said in a statement, adding that the church is confident that the police will bring the perpetrators to justice.
On Sunday Jan 26, Victory Lutheran Church, St John Britto Catholic Church, the Church of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption Church on the island and the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (NBVM) in Butterworth on the mainland had banners reading ‘Allah is Great, Jesus is the son of Allah’ put up outside their premises.
On Jan 27, molotov cocktails were thrown into the Church of the Assumption compound. Burnt black patches could be seen on the grass and on the cement floor on the left side of the shrine bearing the statue of the Virgin Mary.
Santhiyagu said he was informed of the molotov attack by the security guard and later lodged a police report.
“There is nothing to fear. We have always preached peace and love,” the priest said.
Father Victor Louis of NBVM Church also said there was nothing to fear when “God is with us”.
“We will continue to pray for peace and harmony and for people who misunderstand to be enlightened. The truth will prevail one day.”
“We do not react to such acts as Christians. The only way to address issues is through dialogue. Only through dialogue will we be able to achieve anything.”
Meanwhile in his pastoral letter which was issued the day following the crime, Bishop Sebastian Francis, Bishop of Penang, reminded the faithful to stand firm and endure as a People of Peace, Justice and Forgiveness and not to allow the incident to divert them from the real issues affecting them. He quoted John Paul II “There is no peace without justice and there is no justice without forgiveness.” He also reiterated gratefulness to all for the continued work for peace, justice and reconciliation.

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