FEBRUARY 22, 2015, Vol 65, No 04

VATICAN CITY – Salvation has nothing to do with the “theology of prosperity” some people claim to see in the Gospel, thinking material well-being comes with faith, Pope Francis said.

In fact, he said, those who proclaim salvation must live simply, in accordance with Jesus’ instruction to his disciples to “take nothing for the journey but a walking stick – no food, no sack, no money in their belts”.

At the Feb 5 morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives, Pope Francis focused on the day’s Gospel reading, Mark 6:7-13, and how Jesus’ instructions to His disciples are still valid today.

The Gospel “must be proclaimed in poverty”, the pope said, because “salvation is not a theology of prosperity” but the “good news” of liberation for all who are oppressed. “This is the mission of the Church, the Church that heals and cures,” he said.

One who strays from the purity of the Christian message risks presenting the Church as a philanthropic organisation rather than an evangelising one, he said, according to Vatican Radio.
Members of the Indonesian Catholic community having some fun during a gathering. Photo: Okkie TanupradjaMembers of the Indonesian Catholic community having some fun during a gathering. Photo: Okkie Tanupradja

In 1984, six Indonesian Catholics approached Mrs Josephine Handojo, as they wanted to create an Indonesian Catholic community in Singapore. They believed that Indonesian Catholics were being “lured to join other Christian denominations”, shared Mr Agus Handojo, 74, the husband of Josephine, one of the group’s coordinators.

Thus, the Keluarga Katolik Indonesia di Singapura (KKIS) or the Indonesian Catholic community in Singapore was formed.

CatholicNews spoke to Mr Handojo and his 74-year-old wife Josephine, together with the group’s spiritual director, Sacred Heart Fr Sambodo Sru Ujianto in Blessed Sacrament Church, to find out more about the community.

At present, Fr Sambodo “is like a nomad”, said Mrs Handojo during the Jan 28 interview.  She said that even though Fr Sambodo was in Singapore for three years, he still does not have an office to hold consultations despite conducting “a lot of interviews for those getting married or wanting to attend RCIA”.
Catholic Junior College staff and students, past and present, posing for a photo after the school’s 40th anniversary Mass on Jan 31.Catholic Junior College staff and students, past and present, posing for a photo after the school’s 40th anniversary Mass on Jan 31.“It’s great to be back,” said Mr Kenneth Goh, 55, from the Catholic Junior College (CJC) graduating batch of 1978.

“I think it’s wonderful that even though we’re studying in different universities, it’s events like these which bring us back together,” said Ms Jessica Vincent, 21, who graduated from CJC in 2011.

Mr Goh and Ms Vincent were among 500 people, including 13 priests, Religious, and past and present staff, who gathered to celebrate Catholic Junior College’s 40th anniversary on Jan 31.

Archbishop William Goh, in his homily during the Mass held at the school’s auditorium, said that faith formation complements academic excellence. They aren’t mutually exclusive, as in the end, “Jesus is our teacher in truth and love,” he said.
Religious and school leaders pose for a group photo. Religious and school leaders pose for a group photo.  
Guest-of-honour, Mr Lawrence Wong.Guest-of-honour, Mr Lawrence Wong.
About 2,000 people including religious leaders, mingled and had some fun at the 2015 Harmony Games hosted by the archdiocese.

Held on Feb 7 at three different locations in Bishan, the event included a soccer tournament, a telematch, a carnival, and a lunch attended by various religious leaders.

Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, was the guest-of-honour at the event.

Upon his arrival at Catholic High School, Mr Wong, along with several religious leaders, took shuttle buses to the carnival held at Bishan Street 11.
... says Archbishop William Goh at the World Day for Consecrated Life Mass
Representatives from various Religious orders making their way to the altar to offer up candles.Representatives from various Religious orders making their way to the altar to offer up candles.Religious “are not holy robots” as they too make mistakes, said Archbishop William Goh during a special Mass for Religious
and lay consecrated people on Feb 2.

But even though many in the world “harbour a lot of unforgiveness in their hearts,” Archbishop Goh said, “the beauty about Religious life” is that “we are willing to forgive”.

He was speaking to a crowd that included more than 200 Religious gathered at the Church of the Holy Trinity to celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life.
Members of Life Direction Singapore, an ecumenical and inclusive community of spiritual directors. They include Religious, ordained ministers and laity.Members of Life Direction Singapore, an ecumenical and inclusive community of spiritual directors. They include Religious, ordained ministers and laity.
Individually-directed retreats are becoming popular among Christians of various traditions

Christians are especially invited to deep and frequent prayer during Lent.  A retreat is one of the ways people respond to this invitation.

A retreat is an experience of God, an intimate encounter, where a person deliberately withdraws from daily activities in order to listen to and speak with God, says the website of the Cenacle Sisters.

People here are often presented with opportunities to attend retreats, which come in various forms: preached retreats, guided retreats, retreats in daily life, at-home retreats and directed retreats.

A preached retreat is usually conducted by a preacher for a big group of people, such as those in ministry in a particular parish, and it comes with a specific theme. No individual spiritual direction is usually given on these occasions.
Singaporean Sr Xiaowei Lee Assigned to Manila and Macau Religious of the Cenacle http://www.cenaclephilsing.orgSingaporean Sr Xiaowei Lee Assigned to Manila and Macau Religious of the Cenacle http://www.cenaclephilsing.org
When was the last time you had fun? Name the occasion.
I had fun when we played Pinoy Henyo (Filipino Genius) as a community for our Christmas party in December. (Pinoy Henyo is a word-guessing game on noon-time television in the Philippines).

Name an occasion you felt embarrassed/humbled.
I was looking down at my purse while exiting the MRT station. Without noticing what was infront of me, I bumped into the glass door with a ‘boink!’ I just stood there and felt so embarrassed while others walked pass me through the other opened door.

Name an occasion when you felt God was far away.
When I fell sick while travelling alone in Sagada, Philippines.

What do you like best about being a Religious?
The joy of learning to be available to different persons and for different things.
The Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood’s regional superiors who attended a meeting in Singapore from Jan 12-27. They represented Australia, England, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia,  Nigeria, Scotland, Singapore, Zambia, Zimbabwe and their Motherhouse in Surrey, England.The Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood’s regional superiors who attended a meeting in Singapore from Jan 12-27. They represented Australia, England, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Nigeria, Scotland, Singapore, Zambia, Zimbabwe and their Motherhouse in Surrey, England.
Meeting in Singapore for the first time, Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood  (FMDM)Sisters renewed their commitment to carry on their ministry of presence to the poorest in the world.

Eleven regional superiors and members of the Central Leadership Team (CLT) met for two weeks, from Jan 12-27, as a follow up to their General Chaptermeeting in 2013.

“We’re not going anywhere different. We will continue to keep ourselves relevant in today’s world,” emphasised Sr Jane Bertelsen of the CLT, which is based  at their Motherhouse in Surrey, England.

The superiors represented Australia, England, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Nigeria, Singapore, Scotland, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Motherhouse.
Friar Derrick Yap explaining to Christians from other churches about confessionalsFriar Derrick Yap explaining to Christians from other churches about confessionals
An ecumenical gathering for young Christians, hosted by a Catholic parish, was an enjoyable experience for Mr Danny Watt, a 30-year old Anglican.

It helped Christians from other Churches “to understand more clearly the Catholic perspective”, he said.

Mr Watt was among 25 young people, aged between 17 and 33, who attended an ecumenical gathering on Jan 31 at the Church of St Mary of the Angels.

The parish’s Office for the New Evangelisation (ONE) organised the event to promote Christian unity in a conflict-ridden world.
It had invited neighbouring Christian churches join in for an evening of fellowship and sharing.

The participants were equally divided among Catholics and other Christians. The Catholics came from the host parish, while most of the other participants came from the Aldersgate Methodist Church, the Covenant Community Methodist Church, and the Trinity Theological College.
The Archdiocesan Commission for the Family (ACF) is gathering feedback from local Catholics in preparation for an important bishops’ meeting on the family to be held in Rome.

The XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will be held from Oct 4-25, and will discuss the topic, The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World.

Pope Francis himself has asked for feedback on questions generated from the Relatio Synodi, the document which concluded the work of the Synod of Bishops meeting in Rome last year. That meeting was a preparatory one for this upcoming conference.

ACF says that while priests, Religious and Church family organisations have been approached to give their input, this survey is open to the laity as well. “The survey does not seek quantitative analysis, but rather asks open-ended questions in search of qualitative, descriptive answers,” says ACF.

The ACF survey, at http://catholicfamily.org.sg/relatiosynodi2015, will be online from Feb 14. The closing date for submissions is Feb 28.
The CHARIS team poses with Sri Lankan plantation workers and their children. Fr Michael Ranjendram, director of Caritas SED Galle, is on the right.The CHARIS team poses with Sri Lankan plantation workers and their children. Fr Michael Ranjendram, director of Caritas SED Galle, is on the right.Fifteen volunteers from Singapore spent a week in Sri Lanka building toilets for tea plantation workers and giving them art therapy sessions.

The group, comprising missionaries from the Caritas Humanitarian Aid & Relief Initiatives, Singapore (CHARIS) and three art therapists, visited three estates in Deniyaya from Jan 26-Feb 1.

There they helped in the building of 50 toilets funded by CHARIS, and demonstrated the benefits of a bio-sand water filtration system.

The team also forged memorable friendships with the villagers who also helped to construct the toilets.

The art therapists from The Red Pencil International Ltd, a non-profit organisation based in Singapore, conducted therapy sessions for the villagers using art materials such as colour pencils.
Ms Aegile Fernandez speaking to participants during the retreat. Ms Aegile Fernandez speaking to participants during the retreat.
Penang, Malaysia – Migrant ministers from Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore attended a retreat to learn how to grow in their spirituality, and to use it to administer to their clients.

At least 50 ministers attended the Jan 29 - Feb 1 retreat in the Stella Maris Retreat Centre titled, the Mission of Jesus unto Me.

Five speakers gave their sharings at the retreat held in Penang.

Ms Sumitha Shannthini Kishna, assitant director from the Malaysian Bar Council Migrant Refugees and Immigration Affairs Committee, shared that migrant workers should keep a record of the names of the people they come into contact with, as well as copies of their personal documents which could serve as evidence during times of conflict.

Ms Aegile Fernandez, director of Tenaganita, a local charity that works directly with victims of human trafficking, gave examples of how laypeople could contribute towards the prevention of human trafficking.
My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
 
The season of spring ushers in a new year filled with joyful hope and new beginnings. As we welcome the Chinese Lunar New Year, we as Church give praise first and foremost to God from whom all blessings flow, especially when we celebrate the 50th year of our Nation as well.
The Lord has blessed our Archdiocese with many able leaders, Religious and laity whose fervour and joy for the New Evangelisation greatly encourages me in my pastoral work.

Let us start this New Year firstly by being a people of gratitude. Singaporeans are famous for complaining. We take for granted the peace and prosperity that we enjoy – clean water, amenities at our doorstep, freedom of worship etc.
We who celebrate the Eucharist (which means thanksgiving), must live as Eucharistic people. We must cultivate gratitude, for it nurtures in us humility and compassion and keeps us from pride, envy and greed.

My dear Reverend Fathers, Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,

Since I assumed the office of Archbishop of Singapore, I have shared with you my 10-year vision for the Archdiocese and for our people. I have spoken many times on the urgency of the New Evangelisation, which is a call to all Catholics to renew their faith and to share the Good News about Jesus Christ with ardour, as visible witnesses of His love, in every sphere of society, working in communion and using approaches that are relevant. 

Together, we must put a halt to hostile secularism (which is against religion) and the development of an individualistic, materialistic and relativistic society. These dismantle the foundation of society (i.e. the institutions of marriage and family) by disregarding the universal values of human rights that are based on truth and love.

How can we manifest the face of God in our city and transmit God's love to others in a tangible way?How can we manifest the face of God in our city and transmit God’s love to others in a tangible way?Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Advancement in science and modern technology has led to breakthrough discoveries and improvement in many spheres of our lives. We know more about the universe than we have ever known before. Modern medicine has made it possible for people to live longer, look ageless and even replace parts of our body that are not functioning or deemed to be less than perfect. Technology has made it possible for people to be connected instantly across the world at the touch of a button. And yet, are we happier?

Are our relationships stronger? Do we have more time to enjoy the world we live in? Sadly for many, the family is no longer the bulwark against the travails of life. Relationships are strained, because people no longer have time for each other. We are consumed with work, the Internet, social media, etc, so much so that even when we do get together physically, we do not talk heart-to-heart.