NOVEMBER 04, 2012, Vol 62, No 22

Singapore Church launches Year of Faith:
800 priests, Religious and laypeople gather to mark special year

  Destroyed buildings in Aleppo’s main Saadallah al-Jabari Square, where rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have been fighting. Destroyed buildings in Aleppo’s main Saadallah al-Jabari Square, where rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have been fighting.LONDON – The Chaldean Catholic bishop of Aleppo said Syria’s second-largest city, which he “loves so much”, has been left in ruins by months of fighting, and Christians there are struggling to survive.

“People have fled their homes,” said Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo.

Speaking at a reception in the British Parliament on Oct 18, the bishop said that, even with the violence of “bombing and snipers”, Aleppo’s bishops have decided to stay with their people to try to prevent the loss of a Christian presence in the area.

“In some areas ... they have fled their homes because of the threat of bombs, they have lost their livelihoods; schools, hospitals and other public services do not function. There is chaos,” he said.

“Eighty percent of people have no job and have no option but to stay at home,” the bishop said. “Poverty is getting very serious, especially with rising prices and no salaries. The face of the city has changed. There is no security, everything is dirty, there are difficulties in basic travel, no taxis, no buses.”
  ‘The government action comes as a shock. We feel it is unfair to the church. This action deprives the St Thomas Church of the school’s facilities for religious classes’  – Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Murphy Pakiam ‘The government action comes as a shock. We feel it is unfair to the church. This action deprives the St Thomas Church of the school’s facilities for religious classes’ – Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Murphy PakiamKUANTAN, MALAYSIA – A case involving the Malaysian Church’s seeking a judicial review of government acquisition of Church land has been postponed to Nov 2.

The case was initially supposed to be heard on Sept 19 but was postponed to Sept 24 and later to Oct 10.

The postponements were apparently to allow the various parties to resolve the matter out of court, according to the Malaysian Catholic weekly, Herald.

The case involves the government trying to take over part of the land where St Thomas Church and Sekolah Menengah St Thomas (St Thomas Secondary School) are located.

The Herald quoted parish priest, Fr Mitchel Anthony Joseph, saying in a statement that the current Sekolah Menengah St Thomas was established in 1956 on land purchased by a priest, Fr Anthony Duvelle, in 1910.

Singapore Church launches Year of Faith:
800 priests, Religious and laypeople gather to mark special year

Filipinos, Japanese and Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity were among those who attended the Mission Sunday Mass.Filipinos, Japanese and Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity were among those who attended the Mission Sunday Mass.“Maybe, I’ll be a missionary, working in neighbouring countries because I believe it’ll be more fulfilling than normal jobs,” said Darren Lim, 15, an altar server at St Anne’s Church.

Lim was among the 1,400 people who attended the Mission Sunday Mass held at St Anne’s Church on Oct 21.

Members of the Filipino, Indonesian, and Japanese Catholic communities, dressed in their traditional costumes, as well as Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity in their trademark blue-striped saris, were among those at the celebration.
Is there a difference between letting a patient die with dignity and withholding medical treatment so patients are spared a long, painful process of dying? Should Catholic hospitals be different from their secular counterparts?

Is there a way out of the abortion debate? Can Catholics keep themselves absolutely free from any cooperation with the many morally illicit practices the secular world is practising today? Is it possible for a Catholic politician to keep faithful to Catholic values?
From left: Archbishop Nicholas Chia, Bishop Anthony Fisher, and Dr John Hui and Dr Sally Ho from the Catholic Medical Guild pose for a photo.From left: Archbishop Nicholas Chia, Bishop Anthony Fisher, and Dr John Hui and Dr Sally Ho from the Catholic Medical Guild pose for a photo.“God has no hands but yours,” Archbishop Nicholas Chia told Catholic medical doctors, medical students and their families, who came together to celebrate the Catholic Medical Guild’s (CMG) 60th anniversary on Oct 21.

In his homily during the Mass, held at the Hotel Grand Pacific, Archbishop Chia told those present that medicine was not a career, nor was it just a profession. Medicine, he said, is a vocation and calling from God.

By seeing it in this light, he continued, Catholic doctors would be able to avoid making a routine of their work and avoid being burnt out by the pressures of such work.
Former Cabinet minister Lim Boon Heng (seen here with Fr Anthony Hutjes) shared his faith journey at Blessed Sacrament Church on Oct 16.Former Cabinet minister Lim Boon Heng (seen here with Fr Anthony Hutjes) shared his faith journey at Blessed Sacrament Church on Oct 16.Former Cabinet minister Lim Boon Heng was one of several speakers who shared their faith stories at events to mark Mission Sunday

His Christian name is Paul, former Member of Parliament and ex-Cabinet minister Lim Boon Heng shared at a talk to mark World Mission Sunday.

That was one nugget of information the former politician gave to the 300-strong crowd gathered at Blessed Sacrament Church on Oct 16.

The parish had invited Mr Lim and three other speakers to share the importance of their Christian faith in their lives, in talks that had the theme, Why I Believe What I Believe.
 Fr Edward Lim being ordained by Archbishop Nicholas Chia on Oct 15. Fr Edward Lim being ordained by Archbishop Nicholas Chia on Oct 15.New Carmelite priest Fr Edward Lim says lessons he learnt as a doctor could be useful in his priestly ministry

Recently ordained Carmelite priest Fr Edward Lim gave up a promising career as a doctor to answer the call to the priesthood.

The 39-year-old was ordained by Archbishop Nicholas Chia at the Church of Christ the King on Oct 15.

Speaking to CatholicNews a few days after his ordination, Fr Lim, a convert, said that the call to the Religious vocation had always been there, and he wanted to answer it.
The young people of Blessed Sacrament Church are organising a band competition as part of the parish’s year-end countdown celebration.

Battle of the Bands is open to all bands regardless of age, race or religion. The organisers have told CatholicNews that they want to “make use of this special event to evangelise and spread God’s love” by encouraging young people to bring along their non-Catholic friends.
Flood victims live in a ‘tent city’ in Calamba City.Flood victims live in a ‘tent city’ in Calamba City.CHARIS, the archdiocesan umbrella body for overseas humanitarian work, has sent relief aid to the Philippine’s Luzon region, which experienced widespread flooding in the wake of the southwest monsoon.

CHARIS, in September, shipped $31,000 worth of supplies to Caritas Philippines to aid flood victims in Laguna province who were affected by the mid-August rains.

Mr Frederick Foo, CHARIS’ director of operations, went to the Caritas Philippines office in Manila on Sept 23 to take stock of the supplies which had arrived the previous day and joined staff there in repacking them for distribution.
  Campus ministry members present points raised in their small group discussions. Issues highlighted included leadership succession and burnout in ministry. Campus ministry members present points raised in their small group discussions. Issues highlighted included leadership succession and burnout in ministry.Tertiary students discuss campus ministry issues over tea and snacks

The dialogue session was called “Teh-O-logy”, and it was what Living Stones Campus Outreach (LSCO) organised to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

LSCO said “Teh-O-logy”, a light-hearted reference to the local coffee-shop beverage, was inspired by the American Catholic concept of Theology on Tap, in which young people discuss faith issues over a beer in a relaxed pub setting.

LSCO, which aims to provide spiritual formation to tertiary-level students, invited Catholic students from local universities and polytechnics to discuss the issues facing them and how campus ministries can help deepen their faith.
Fr Joseph Tham lectures at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome.Fr Joseph Tham lectures at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome.An assistant professor from a pontifical university in Rome gave an overview of the development and secularisation of bioethics in a talk recently.

Hong Kong-born Fr Joseph Tham, who lectures on the topic at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University, said that bioethics emerged in the 1960s as a result of “an explosion in medical advancement”.

Before the 1960s, in discussions on medical ethics, “there was an inclusion of religion”, Fr Tham told the crowd in his Oct 5 talk, titled The Marginalisation of Faith in Secular Bioethics.
Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Sr Susan Thomas speaking at The Rights and Roles of Women seminar.Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Sr Susan Thomas speaking at The Rights and Roles of Women seminar.Women’s health, career issues and a Vatican document on the family were topics tackled at a seminar for women organised by the Family Life Society (FLS).

The Oct 13 seminar, titled The Rights and Roles of Women, was the last of three seminars this year on Familiaris Consortio, a Church document on family life.

“Our aim for this seminar is for women to align their faith and roles as mothers, wives or singles in facing the challenges of today,” Ms Michelle Soliano, FLS programme manager told CatholicNews.
A group prepares to receive and interact with a person playing the role of a ‘non-Catholic’ during the archdiocesan NCC Day.A group prepares to receive and interact with a person playing the role of a ‘non-Catholic’ during the archdiocesan NCC Day.Neighbourhood Christian Communities learn about evangelisation at workshop

It was a Neighbourhood Christian Communities (NCC) Day with a difference.

On Oct 13 afternoon, 200 Catholics from NCCs across the archdiocese came together for their annual NCC Day, held in Catholic Junior College.

The theme this year was Go You Are Sent Forth.

But this time, there was a special role-play exercise in small groups, an activity not done before.
The Cantate Domino Choir singing at its Oct 13 concert.The Cantate Domino Choir singing at its Oct 13 concert.The Cantate Domino Choir from the Church of the Risen Christ raised close to $4,500 for a Cambodian charity at a concert.

The choir, which sings at the Sunday 11.30 am Mass, donated the proceeds from its 10th anniversary concert to the Missionary Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Poipet, Cambodia.

The nuns from the missionary society work in health care and other areas.
Cenacle Sr Linda Lizada conducting a discernment workshop for 45 men at the seminary.Cenacle Sr Linda Lizada conducting a discernment workshop for 45 men at the seminary.Forty-five men discerning their call to the priesthood gathered at the St Francis Xavier Major Seminary recently to learn practical tools for such discernment.

Cenacle Sr Linda Lizada gave the Oct 12-13 Tools for Discernment workshop to the participants who ranged in age from 18 to 35.

The workshop was part of a quarterly Diocesan Vocation Discernment Recollection organised by archdiocesan vocation director Fr Alex Chua.
Seminarian Jude David holds aloft the Nicene Creed in Latin and Singapore’s four official languages during the entrance procession.Seminarian Jude David holds aloft the Nicene Creed in Latin and Singapore’s four official languages during the entrance procession.800 priests, Religious and laypeople gather to mark special year

Parishes and Church groups received scrolls containing the Creed during a special Mass to launch the Year of Faith on Oct 11.

Pope Benedict XVI had called for the special year to run from Oct 11, 2012 to Nov 24, 2013. He has asked Catholics to spend this year studying, professing and demonstrating their faith.

During the local launch of the special year at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, parish priests received a scroll from Archbishop Nicholas Chia on which is printed the Nicene Creed in Latin and Singapore’s four official languages.