Aug 12, 2008

Maronite 2008 at Sydney

Another interesting experience when I was at down under...
One of my 'biggest' mistake in traveling is to travel without a plan. In a way, I just join any group that I would see in sight. Fortunately, as I previously said, the Malaysian group.
As I was already comfortable with the group, I had the chance to join them to attend the Maronite Mass which was held in Parramata.

Banner
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We thought that we were 1/2 hour late because we took the wrong train as it suppose to start at 10am. Not only that, we had to book a ticket to enter the stadium where the mass was held.
Either it's a blessing or mere coincidence, the mass didn't start until 11am plus there were extra tickets for all of us (appx 8-10 of us in total). I was honestly thankful for the guard's kindness and effort for us.

The guard is counting the ticket
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Priests, Cardinals, Bishops arriving

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Patriach - Mar Nasrallah Cardinal Boutros Sfeir
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Director conducting the choir
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It was a whole new different view while attending the mass. Majority of people who came were actually Lebanese. The language was in Arab but there are parts of the mass were spoken in English for the pilgrims who visit the World Youth Day. This mass is specially conducted during this event and also for the Maronites. The flow of the mass was quite different from the normal mass in the Roman Catholic Church but still we're in the same family. At that moment, there's a feeling of connection with the people around me.
Even the sign of peace was quite different in comparison to bowing to the person next to you or shaking hands. The sign of peace was started from the altar and then passed down from the altar boy until the people at the stadium. My vocabulary is quite poor in describing how hands are being held to each other first and then passed to another person next to you. A little bit like how you greet your fellow Muslim friends back in Malaysia.

A stage filled with holy people
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Communion

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One of the most anticipated thing in the Maronite mass was definitely the communion. I heard that the bread and wine were mixed together into a pulp which signifies the body and blood of Christ. And then, it'll be passed down using a long spoon into the person's mouth. That didn't happen though. During that time, I was not even allowed to hold the body of Christ and instead the priest placed it into my mouth.

All in all, that 'mistake' in terms of planning was a good one. :)

It was truly a educated experience to pray and listen in Arab. Sounds more like the when I hear the Adhan back at home.

The End of the Mass

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