Fr Michael Arro, 84, who has spent 58 years of pastoral work in Singapore:
Catholics have grown well economically and socially in tandem with the nation’s progress, and so has been the numbers. The demand for faith formation, like Bible classes, talks on the sacraments and youth programmes, have increased by leaps and bounds as compared to the 1960s, and the laity is asking for more.
Walk into Crossings Café between seven and 10 o’clock on Friday nights and you will be greeted by the warm hospitality of a Belgian missionary priest.
Scheut Missions Fr Paul Staes will make you his signature Manhattan cocktail if you are an adult willing to try an alcoholic drink. He will even give you a complimentary bowl of homemade Belgian rice pudding, a family recipe he learned to make from his mother.
Fr Staes, who is the spiritual director of Crossings Café, volunteered to be a bartender once a week as part of his commitment to the social enterprise. His stint began on Valentine’s Day last year.
The 78-year-old’s role does not stop at the bar there however, as he moves from table to table sharing stories and exchanging jokes with guests. He also offers information on the various drinks available in the cafe, such as the Belgian Trappist Beers, Belgian fruit beers and others.
Those who may not be able to get tickets can now watch the event from the comfort of their homes as long as they have Internet access.
The Mass will be broadcast on YouTube, and viewers can access it on different platforms, such as on smartphones and tablets.
Viewers can also interact with one another in a comment box.
“Any ADSL (from 4 Mbps) or fibre broadband would be good enough broadband speeds to watch the SG50 Mass live. If you are currently able to enjoy YouTube videos, you can watch the live stream,” explained Mr Michael Vong, who handles technical matters for the Archdiocesan Communications Office.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be the guest-of-honour at the archdiocesan’s Joy SG50 Thanksgiving event on July 4.
Mr Lee, who was educated in Catholic High School, will be accompanied by his wife, Madam Ho Ching. Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, a former student of St Joseph’s Institution, will also be attending.
Besides the Thanksgiving Mass, one of the highlights of the Indoor Stadium event is a musical segment involving a group of young priests, nuns and lay-people.
The audience can look forward to the group showcasing their vocal and musical talents, including on the keyboard or with the saxophone or electric guitar.
According to the organisers, the programme flow will gain momentum progressively from being reflective to participatory and then to being spirited, with much of the dynamism left to the final 30 minutes when the “younger members of the Church” will take over with a high energy musical segment.