JUNE 01, 2014, Vol 64, No 11
Pedestrians walking along the intersection of Lorong Low Koon and Upper Serangoon Road recently would have noticed a new signboard proudly proclaiming the presence of the Office for Young People (OYP) of the Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore.
This development coincided with a week of many firsts for OYP – its first School of Christian Leadership, its first Nox Gaudii (Night of Joy) and its first Kickstart event for university freshmen, all conducted on its very own premises.
Students from the various universities (JCU, NTU, NUS, Yale-NUS College, SIM, SIT, SMU, SUTD) spent a week at the School of Christian Leadership so as to begin “Leading With the Shepherd’s Heart”, as the programme was themed.
OYP co-chaplain Fr Jude David, in his opening address, noted that the May 11-17 programme began on Good Shepherd Sunday.
The current number of Singaporean men joining the seminary is insufficient to replace priests who leave active service due to old age or sickness. Yet the need for priests in Singapore is great because it is through them that Christ comforts and guides His people through the Word and sacraments.
Vicar General Msgr Ambrose Vaz made this point during a Mass to mark the World Day of Prayer for Vocations on May 11.
Speaking to the crowd gathered at the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Msgr Vaz expressed conviction that the Lord continues to call young people from Singapore to work in his harvest, but many find it difficult to listen to and respond to the invitation.
Msgr Vaz, who is also rector of the St Francis Xavier Major Seminary, explained that Singaporean Catholics need to build a culture that encourages vocations.
He acknowledged that this could be difficult as the notion of asking God what He wants one to do with one’s life runs counter to the local materialistic and secular culture which encourages self-fulfilment.
Imam Habib Hassan of Ba’alwie Mosque shares his faith with his guests.
It was a valuable interfaith experience for a group of Catholics when they visited the Ba’alwie Mosque to learn more about Islam.
The Archdiocesan Catholic Council for Interreligious Dialogue (ACCIRD) organised the May 10 visit to the mosque, located at 2 Lewis Road.
Days prior to the visit, the 14 participants attended a formation and orientation session on the Church’s teachings on interreligious dialogue.
Upon arrival at the mosque, the visitors removed their footwear while the women donned headscarves as a mark of
They were warmly welcomed by Syed Hassan Al-Attas, imam and head of the mosque; his son, Syed Ahmed Al-Attas; and several friends.
“There is a need for a paradigm shift. At the heart of marriage and work is the human person.”
Fr Eugene Vaz made this point during the fourth in a series of talks called Bridging Your Life with Christ, held at the Church of the Holy Cross on May 10.
Speaking on the topic of work and marriage, Fr Vaz told the crowd that man and woman were told to be fruitful and multiply, and were given lordship over the entire creation, making them stewards of creation.
Thus through marriage and work, humans are called to form a community of love and service.
He noted that by one’s work, man partakes in partnering with God in the ongoing development and beautification of His creation. The very meaning of God’s calling to work must be seen within the nature and purpose of the human person who is made in the image and likeness of God.
A recent regional meeting for Catholics serving migrants has been a useful learning experience, say participants.
The sixth annual conference of the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral care of Migrants & Itinerant People (EMI) allowed “us to meet our counterparts in Malaysia (including Sabah and Sarawak) and Brunei”, said Mr Timothy Karl.
The executive director of Singapore’s Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants & Itinerant People (ACMI) said “it is interesting to see how the various dioceses with different situations and profiles reach out to their migrant populations. In church work, we learn from one another.”
Twenty-one participants, including clergy and laypeople, attended the May 8-11 conference held at the Montfort Centre off Upper Bukit Timah Road.
In order to be good Christian leaders, one must have “friendship with Jesus, and an intimacy with God”, said Archbishop William Goh during the annual Combined Polytechnics Commissioning Mass.
“We cannot live a meaningful life unless we live it in passion,” he told the young students gathered for the May 14 celebration at the Singapore Polytechnic.
He encouraged those present – members of the polytechnic Catholic students societies – to use their gifts from God and to find their vocations in life.
More than 20 pilots, cabin crew, ground staff and their friends come together in prayer for the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on May 15. Fr Lionel Thomas, a former cabin crew member from Johor Bahru, celebrated the Mass which was held at the SIA Sports Group Club.
“Pray my dear friends, pray for closure,” said Fr Thomas in his homily during the Mass, which saw participants praying for the crew of the missing Boeing 777 airliner, and its passengers and next-of-kin.
By Augustine Lenny
You can be saints in your ordinary lives just by doing God’s will daily.
This was a message that Bishop Javier Echevarría, head of the worldwide Opus Dei organisation, told about 1,000 people gathered at the Raffles City Convention Centre on May 17.
Bishop Javier, who was on a three-day visit, told the 1,000 people present – Catholics and non-Catholics from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Hong Kong – never to be indifferent when they encounter people in need of help.
He asked them to imitate Opus Dei founder, St Josemaría Escrivá, in having a large heart capable of loving people of every nation.
The Hong Kong Catholics in Singapore have been a growing community since 1994. Known as the Sacred Heart Cantonese Basic Christian Community (SHCBCC), the group has grown from about 20 people to its current number of 120.
In 2005, the community moved to the Church of Sts Peter and Paul, and they now have weekly Cantonese Masses in the chapel at 2pm every Sunday. According to its coordinator, Mr Alfred Cheung, 65, there are about 40 Singaporean Cantonese who join in the Mass.
“Any Cantonese-speaking Catholic is welcome to join in,” Mr Cheung said, adding that “there are also Hong Kong non- Catholics who have not converted but also join in the activities”.
The community’s chaplain, Carmelite Fr Daniel Lim has been in Singapore for about 12 years, and has been with the group since 2011.