Come 2022, the Diocese of Malacca Johore will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. Bishop Bernard Paul felt that instead of focusing on a single day, what better way to mark a Golden Anniversary than to enter into a 3-year long jubilee that sees the faithful giving thanks to God for the very gift of the Diocese. Furthermore, a sustained celebration is needed to consolidate the pastoral thrust taken by the Diocese in the creation of an Encountered Church that is both Enlightened and Empowered flowering into an Evangelising culture.
Broadly speaking, at the macro level, the jubilee celebration will be marked by three dates of significance.
Firstly, the inauguration Mass will take place on St Paul’s Hill on 12th March 2020. St Francis Xavier is the patron saint of the Diocese and as the diocesan’s thrust is to arrive at an evangelising Church, this date was chosen on account of it being the day that St Francis Xavier was canonised. After the Mass, there will be a procession to the Church of St Francis Xavier where the Logo to identify the 3-year long celebration will be launched. The logo was chosen after a competition which saw entries coming in from almost all corners of the Melaka and Johor. The winning entry came from St Theresa’s Church, Melaka.
The logo symbolises the Diocesan Pastoral aspiration towards a future of hope—that expresses itself as a Communion of Families. Firstly, the butterfly is made up of two pairs of large wings each representing the 4-E of the diocesan pastoral thrust: to be Encountered, to be Enlightened, to be Empowered and to be Evangelising. At the centre is a Cross superimposed over white background that resembles an arrow—emblematic of a family that is centred on Christ, thus fulfilling the pastoral thrust of moving into a recognisable future of a Church consisting of a communion of families. There are discernible patterns within the wings, each one as a motif for the 50th anniversary (top left wing—numeral 50), creativity (top right wing—bulb), inclusive (bottom left wing—a circling and embracing human figure), building bridges (bottom right wing—bridge) and finally a composite motif of the top left wing which is made up of an eye and a target denoting that the pastoral thrust is both a vision and a mission.
The different hues within the logo stand for the colour of the Diocese (green) and the colours of the flags of Melaka (blue, red, white and yellow) and Johor (blue, red and white).
In 2021, the next diocesan celebration will move from the Melaka Vicariate to the North-Central Johor Vicariate notably in Segamat at the Church of St Philip. The date to look forward to is 29th May—the feast of St Pope Paul VI—the author of the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi on evangelisation in the modern world. The task to be evangelisers is not restricted to priests or religious but is in fact incumbent on every baptised to proclaim Christ to the world.
Presently, events are still being planned for the coming months. While the Diocese intends to energise her faithful with this Jubilee, she does so recognising that all the initiatives taken should not place a further burden on the parishes but should blend in with the calendars of the local parishes. Some diocesan initiatives may include, depending of the possibility of getting a major relic of St Francis Xavier, the patron saint of the Diocese to visit the Diocese so that all the faithful may have first-hand encounter with someone who had walked this part of the world in bringing Christ to a world waiting for His good news.
The culmination of our three-year journey will take place in Majodi, the seat of the Diocesan governance, also a place big enough to host as many as possible in coming for the event. The date will be on the 3rd of Dec, the Solemnity of St Francis Xavier.