DECEMBER 30, 2012 Vol 62, No 26
We have all heard that families are the cells of society. However, in the practical matter of governance, development continues to be measured more in economic terms than in less tangible, but perhaps more important terms. Have families in Singapore progressed and developed as much as other aspects of Singapore?
For Catholics, the problem of development is an important one. We must contribute in our unique and irreplaceable way to the development of the world. Families have a role to play in this development. And Catholic families will have their own specific contributions to offer. But do Catholic families have something unique to contribute? The document Familiaris Consortio (FC) offers an insight into this matter.
Archbishop’s Christmas message
The bishop mentions the secular celebration of Halloween which has no place for Catholics. But the very word Halloween is “eve of All Hallows”, which is the eve of All Saints Day, a day of obligation.
When teaching my catechism students, I have always taught that although this has pagan roots, our Irish Catholics have used this as a time to prepare for the two feasts of All Saints and All Souls, and the importance of praying for our departed dear ones.
The ghosts I tell them is our human way of explaining the dead – that we should not fear them but rather pray for the souls of all those who have passed away – especially those whom they know. Viewing Halloween – with all its secularism – as not for Catholics, I feel, is the same way as how Christmas is looked at.
As I was brought up in a Protestant family, I used to look upon the lackadaisical attitude of the Sunday Catholic churchgoers with some degree of disdain.
However, during my recent conversion to Catholicism, one dawning fact that opened my eyes to our universal Church was that we are a Church made up of broken and flawed people.
VATICAN CITY – The light of Christ has not dimmed over the past 2,000 years, but Christians today have an obligation to resist attempts to extinguish it, knowing that whenever societies have tried to pretend God did not exist, tragedy followed, Pope Benedict XVI said.
He made his remarks on Dec 14 during a morning audience with civic leaders and pilgrims from the town of Pescopennataro and the province of Isneria, which donated a 24-m silver fir tree for St Peter’s Square.
In a statement released at the Vatican on Dec 13, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, said even legitimately established and Vatican-recognised bishops’ conferences “do not have the power to name or approve a bishop, to revoke his mandate or to impose sanctions on him”.
The Chinese bishops’ conference, which is not recognised by the Vatican, has even less power to revoke Shanghai Auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin’s appointment, he said.
According to the Asian Church news agency ucanews.com, the bishops’ conference said the bishop violated their rules for episcopal ordinations.
Mr Joseph Liu Yuanlong, a vice chair of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, confirmed on Dec 12 that the association and the bishops’ conference decided to revoke Bishop Ma’s approval letter as “coadjutor” bishop and dismiss him from all posts in the association and conference.
The Philippine Reproductive Health bill ‘is against the goodness of family, the stability of marriage’.
– Msgr Joselito Asis, secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
During a news conference on Dec 18, Msgr Joselito Asis, secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said if President Benigno Aquino later signs the legislation into law, the bishops would support an appeal by Catholic lawyers who claim it is unconstitutional.
“The RH bill is against the goodness of family, the stability of marriage,” Msgr Asis said. He explained that in other countries the ready availability of contraceptives had resulted in “promiscuity, premarital sex and extramarital affairs”.
Incorporating the Gregorian and Chinese lunar calendars with the Church’s Ordo (the calendar that prescribes daily Mass), the calendar also includes the breviary to make daily prayers more convenient for laity’s spiritual lives.
The “Perpetual Calendar of the Church [beta]” can be accessed via the website of Faith Press, a major Catholic publisher in northern China.
The proclamation of Christmas is a light that shines for all people. “Emmanuel”, God-with-us, comes to dwell in our midst bringing with Him the universal message of love, hope and peace.
As we eagerly await the coming of our Saviour, we share with Mary her joyful anticipation of the Child Jesus. This great and fascinating mystery of God’s incarnation is what we celebrate at Christmas.
Jesus, “The-Word-Made-Flesh”, desires to be close to us. Amidst the glow of Christmas, we are reminded of how God so humbled Himself to take the form of a child to live with us.
On Dec 9, the mission group and members of other parishes spent time with students of the St Ignatius Loyola School, located on Rempang island southeast of Batam.
Its 61 pages condense spiritual advice from a seasoned spiritual director, a masterly summary of the case for solitude in our busy lives, and a succinct summary of three established methods of meditation and contemplation in the Christian tradition.
Written by Good Shepherd Sr Elizabeth Lim with freelance writer and regular retreatant Melanie Lee, it works at one level as a commemorative book on the Oasis centre, a serene retreat house at Marymount, nestled on a hillock overlooking MacRitchie Reservoir.
Quiet Journeys explores what it means to embark on a spiritual journey through solitude, meditation and reflection
It was with the thought of encouraging people to embark on a retreat, to cultivate a habit of stillness and meditation that prompted Good Shepherd Sr Elizabeth Lim and a lay Anglican, Melanie Lee, to collaborate on a book.
Quiet Journeys: Finding Stillness in Chaos, explores what it means to embark on a quiet spiritual journey through solitude, meditation and reflection.
Several Mandarin-speaking young people participated in youth camps earlier this month.
Eighty young people from Singapore and Malacca aged 12 to 21 attended the Camp held by Commission for Apostolate of Mandarin Speaking in Singapore (CAMS) at Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Nativity from Dec 13 to 16.
Forty-four local young people joined their 36 Malaysian counterparts to foster relationships, interaction and mutual learning between the two groups while deepening their own relationship with God.
The event was organised by the Apostolate for Catholic Truth and held in a café in South Bridge Road.
Diplomats from 28 countries, along with Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan, placed decorations on a Christmas tree during a concert at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd recently.
They then sang Let there be Peace on Earth together with the Cathedral Choir of the Risen Christ.
The special guests were among 800 people who attended the Dec 16 choral concert titled Away in a Manger.
Reading Singaporean poet Anne Lee Tzu Pheng’s latest works is akin to witnessing an artist’s spiritual journey as she shares her reflections on faith, literature and various other matters.
“Of late, I’m very much conscious of … the working of the Spirit through words,” the parishioner of the Church of St Mary of the Angels said during the launch of her three latest books at the church’s St Clare Hall.
The initiative came about when Dr Aloysius Leong, who attends the church, approached parish priest Fr John Sim about performing orchestral music in the church to raise funds for cancer-stricken children.
Dr Leong is head of string music at the Australian International School.
The display, in front of the main church, is largely the work of parishioner Bernard Yeo, a businessman.
In addition to the familiar figurines of the Holy Family and the three kings, which were provided by the church, Mr Yeo handcrafted the inn that was too full to take in Mary and Joseph, a market building, a side house, a well, furniture, farm animals and a stream flowing through a miniature village.
A group of young people from Singapore went to Pattaya, Thailand, where they interacted with orphaned children, practised English with disabled students and took blind children to the beach.
Redemptorist Fr Simon Pereira led the group of 60 young people on a Redemptorist Overseas Mission Exposure (R.O.M.E.) trip from Dec 1-9.
The primary aim of the mission was to expose the group to the culture and lifestyle of the underprivileged in Pattaya and to spread God’s love to them.
R.O.M.E trips started a couple of years ago. Seeing how it had benefited the young people in the past, Fr Simon and his team invited young people from Maris Stella High School, CHIJ Katong Convent Secondary, Church of Divine Mercy and Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour on the mission trip.
Goh was among the 42 participants, consisting of 17 adults, 23 children and two Verbum Dei Missionaries, who attended a five-day Family Mission Trip from Dec 5-9. The trip was organised by the Verbum Dei Missionaries to reach out to the needy people of Tagaytay City, Philippines.
“We have always organised mission trips for young working adults, but this was our very first mission trip organised for families with children from five to 15 years old,” commented Sr Sandra Seow, one of the organisers of the trip.