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Christmas Midnight Masses draw overflowing crowds

Archbishop Wong and Father Liew pause in prayer after the rite of blessing of the nativity scene, 24 Dec 2017, Sacred Heart Parish Centre foyer Karamunsing.

KOTA KINABALU – The Christmas Midnight Mass is one of two times in the year when overflowing crowds are seen in churches across the archdiocese.  The Sacred Heart Cathedral here has two Masses on Christmas Eve in order to accommodate the faithful: 6 pm BM Mass and 9:30 pm English Mass.  The overflowing crowds were accommodated on the square and at the parish centre.

The English Mass on 24 Dec 2017 was preceded by a cantata performed by the Sacred Heart Cathedral English Choir and Friends themed Our Lord Emmanuel Has Come under the direction of choirmaster Frederick Wong and organist Nicholas Lee.

The term ‘cantata,’ invented in Italy in the 17th century, refers to a piece of music written for voice or voices and instruments. It applies broadly to works for solo voice, multiple soloists, vocal ensemble, and with instrumental accompaniment of keyboard or instrumental ensemble. It can be a single movement work or consist of multiple movements, and the text can be either sacred or secular.

Archbishop John Wong presided at the Mass, concelebrated with Father Joshua Liew.

In his homily, he stressed that Christmas is actually about “our identity as sons and daughters of God in Jesus.”

The rite of blessing of the manger was done after the Mass. After the final blessing the clergy and faithful processed to the foyer of the parish centre for the blessing.

After a short prayer, the prelate blessed the manger with holy water and incensed it.  At the end of the blessing, he greeted all those present a blessed Christmas.

This year’s nativity scene was done by the Light of Jesus Christ Covenant Community (LJCCC).  The life-size statues were shipped from Vietnam last year.

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