Penangites celebrate Novena at St Anne's Church

BUKIT MERTAJAM: About a thousand of devotees in the state made their way to St Anne's Church in Jalan Kulim here to celebrate Novena.

Among them were sisters V. S. Danam, 53 and R. S. Larchmi, 67.

Danam said she and her sister live close to St Anne's Church, therefore they never miss the celebration.

"We have been coming here for St Anne's Novena celebration for over 50 years ... since we were kids.

"I always pray for good health, and I believed it had been answered," she said.

Another devotee, Mary Steven, 38, said her family would always come before the actual feast day on Saturday to avoid the crowd.

"I'm here with my two children today. We never miss the celebration as I believe my family has obtained the blessing and protection of St Anne.

"This year, I wish St Anne will bless my son, who is studying in Standard Six to be able achieve a good result in the upcoming Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR)," she said.

Medical factory technician, Ong Liean Joo, 50, said although he is a Buddhist, he would still pay a visit to St Anne's Church during the celebration.

Ong said he had made it a practice before marrying his 48-year-old wife Ng Chooi Wah.

"I have brought my three sons, aged between 11 and 21-years-old, along.

"I believe it is good to visit. Although I am not a devotee of the church, I get to partake and learn about another community's culture and also to respect the freedom of religion in Malaysia," he said.

To mark the event, the statues of St Anne and the Virgin Mary was taken on a 3.5km procession outside the church at about 8pm.

The highlight of the celebration will be a candlelight procession that will be held within the church compound this coming Saturday at 8pm.

Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng, Penang Public Works, Utilities, and Transport exco Lim Hock Seng and Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) councilor Michael Tan Chong Heng was also present at the event.