30. December, 2014News Comments Off on Christmas Under the Stars (CUTS) at CDM Penang

“Come and ask everyone of your family to come. Get everyone in your BEC to come too!” that was the invitation given by Fr Martin Arlando, parish priest of the Church of

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Divine Mercy, Penang to all his parishioners at mass. And so like the shepherds on the night of Christmas, they came. The infants that were carried in the arms of their parents, families and young couples holding hands and the grandparents on the supporting arms of their grand children. People of all the races that made up the community of CDM turned up. There were Chinese, Indians, Eurasians, East Malaysians, Indonesians, Filipinos and many friends and relatives. Over 1000 tickets were sold and there were 232 lucky draw prizes. Every family of four had at least a chance to get one prize while others were luckier. All unclaimed prizes were later given away to foster homes the following Sunday. Even if they failed to get a lucky prize each person received a door present of a CDM mug, a glowing Christmas hat and stationary.

It was an event many months in the planning for the night of the 13th December, 2014. This was aimed to bring all the BECs together with the trust on divine providence to provide clear skies on this night of the monsoon season. And the heavens held back and everyone witnessed the fireworks display that marked the beginning and ending of the event. It was a night with something for everyone. The children were each given a present of soap bubbly that kept them busy blowing bubbles outdoing each other. In addition to a dinner that included roast turkey everyone got an ice cream treat from Fr Martin.

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Lucky gift prizes were sought from big corporations and hotels, a stage was put up and around 700 chairs were set up in the car park area with tables for senior citizens. Three transparent canopies were set up to enable everyone to see the fireworks in case of rain.

The events started promptly after sunset mass on that Saturday. CDM’s first nativity play was enacted by around 30 CEC children and 20 members of the youth who provided the music and chorus accompaniment. They had spent many rehearsals with all costumes made by parents. The children used their own words to depict what was meaningful to them about the events leading to the birth of Christ. This brought much laughter and cheer to those present.

 

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A list of nine other activities were carried which gave the community at CDM a chance to show off their talents. The Youth performed a “Hoedown Showdown”, the Tamil youth group did a dance while their ladies outdid them by preforming a Bollywood dance. There were performances by the Chinese, Indonesian, Filipinos, and even the senior citizens of the “Living Springs” ministry. The Aikido group also displayed their prowness and the Cantor were not to be out done by performing the “Sister Act” complete with costumes and wigs. The BECs were also challenged with a scripture quiz and each received a prize. As an extra treat, in the middle of the activities, a young couple with their infant son, depicting the holy family, walked through the crowd handing out sweets to children instead of the traditional Santa Claus. Many of those who were greeted on the way took the opportunity to snap a photo with them.

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When the last of the 15 big lucky draw prizes were drawn, Fr Martin made a closing prayer and the last of the fireworks lit up the sky. Everyone then helped restack the chairs and clean up the church premises. As they made their way home, a remark was heard, “It feels as if Christmas has already come and gone. What else can match this night?”

 

 

Written by
Ivan Filmer
27th December, 2014

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