KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 25 — Malaysians and foreigners of the Christian faith flocked to churches and opened up their doors for family and friends in various parts of the country as Christmas was celebrated today in the spirit of peace and togetherness.

Many also took the opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends at various attractions on this public holiday.

The Christian Federation of Malaysia and its partners are organising a Christmas day hi-tea reception at the Luther Centre in Petaling Jaya with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail being the guest-of-honour.

In Ipoh, among those who made a beeline for a religious service at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes was Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar and his family.

In Klang, some 1,000 people gathered at the iconic Our Lady of Lourdes Church for the Christmas mass, a celebration that was made more meaningful as the church observed its 90th anniversary this year, having been built by Catholic missionaries in 1928.

"The Christmas mass in this church is unique as it is conducted in various languages namely English, Malay, Tamil and even Burmese for the easier understanding of foreigners among the congregation," parish priest Rev Fr Frederick Joseph told Bernama.

People attend Christmas mass at St John’s Cathedral in Kuala Lumpur December 25, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
People attend Christmas mass at St John’s Cathedral in Kuala Lumpur December 25, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

In Tampin, chief priest at the St John Marie Vianney Church, Rev Fr Peter Anthoney said the Christmas celebration this year was more meaningful because a baptism ceremony was also held at the church for a baby boy and a baby girl.

Meanwhile in Seremban, Christians gathered at several churches,  including the Church of the Visitation and Wesley Methodist Church for the Christmas mass before visiting their relatives and friends .

In Kuching, Christians were seen making a beeline to churches such as the St Thomas’ Cathedral at Jalan McDougall and the St Joseph’s Cathedral at Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg for the Christmas mass.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg also shared in the celebration by attending the Christmas open house at the residence of the Bishop of Kuching, Reverend Danald Jute.

A woman takes a selfie at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Ipoh December 25, 2018. — Picture by Farhan Najib
A woman takes a selfie at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Ipoh December 25, 2018. — Picture by Farhan Najib

In Kuantan, followers of the Christian faith began to gather at the St Thomas Church as early as 8am for the Christmas mass which was led by Father Patrick Boudville 

The mass, which began at 9am was also attended by foreigners, especially Indonesians, most of whom were either dressed in red or batik.

In Johor Baru, the churches that drew a large crowd included the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Jalan Gereja, the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Tebrau Presbyterian Church at Taman Sri Tebrau.

The fine weather also allowed the public to spend the public holiday at places of attractions, such as the Johor Zoo and the Komtar JBCC Shopping Complex.

In Melaka, Christmas mass was also held at the St Peter’s Church and the St Francis Xavier Church. — Bernama

People gather at the Portuguese Settlement in Melaka December 24, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara
People gather at the Portuguese Settlement in Melaka December 24, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara