A Language of Its Own

Most people experience worship mainly though their aural sense. We hear a sermon; we sing hymns and participate in liturgy. We worship primarily through speaking, singing and perhaps playing of musical instruments. To the deaf, whose language is visual, worship is visual.

On 11 May 2019, parishioners at HFK had the privilege of celebrating a signed mass with the Catholic Ministry for the Deaf (CMfD). It provided hearing members of the congregation a small window into a deaf person’s world - the world of silence.

Pin drop silence filled the church as Rev. Father Michael Chua celebrated mass in sign language. Hymns were not left out from the order of liturgy. Moving in unison, the silent singers almost seemed to be dancing with their hands as their fingers traced rhythmic patterns in the air. Hearing parishioners joined in the worship by silently reciting prayers. It was indeed a memorable and unique opportunity to experience mass in a different way and be able to worship against a backdrop of silence.

The mass for the deaf serves as a good reminder of the Holy Father’s call for inclusion - that it becomes the mentality and culture of the church. In his message at the 2018 International Day of the Deaf, Pope Francis stressed that the right of every man and every woman to a dignified life will always be protected.

CMfD gathers every Sunday at 11.30 a.m. in St Francis Xavier Church, Petaling Jaya to celebrate mass together and build communion among the deaf and wider community. For more information on CMfD, kindly visit www.catholicministryfordeaf.my or join their Facebook page ‘Catholic Ministry for the Deaf’

Ephesians 2:19

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers,
but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household