OCTOBER 18, 2015, Vol 65, No 21

More than 1,000 migrants attend Migrant Sunday event

Migrants from countries such as Myanmar, Indonesia and India presenting gifts during the Migrant Sunday Mass.Migrants from countries such as Myanmar, Indonesia and India presenting gifts during the Migrant Sunday Mass.

The Migrant Sunday celebration organised recently by the Church here represented “unity for all the races”, said Ms Rhodora, 51. “Everybody cheered for each other,” said the Filipino domestic worker, “we feel like we belong”.

Ms Rhodora was one of more than 1,000 migrant workers who gathered at the Church of Divine Mercy on Sept 27 to celebrate Migrant Sunday, a yearly Church event to honour migrants.

It was organised by the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ACMI) together with the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP).

SSVP also provided bus transport for migrants from parishes to the venue.

The communities represented during the celebration included the Chinese, German, Filipino, Indonesian, Malayalam, Myanmar, Sri Lankan, Tamil and Vietnamese communities.
Singapore poet, Dr Anne Lee (above), conducted a workshop which helped participants learn how poetry is a way of praying.Singapore poet, Dr Anne Lee (above), conducted a workshop which helped participants learn how poetry is a way of praying.

Writing creatively, especially the writing of poetry, can help one connect with God even when one is not consciously doing so.

This was a point stressed by acclaimed Singapore poet, Dr Anne Lee Tzu Pheng, at a full-day workshop held at CANA – The Catholic Centre on Sept 26.

The workshop, titled On Earth as it is in Heaven: Connecting with God through Poetry, aimed to show participants how poetry is a way of praying, and how the simplest poem can be the deepest prayer.

“To work with words, especially creatively, is to touch and connect with God because all words are holy,” Dr Lee, a professed member of the Secular Franciscan Order, told the 15 participants.
The De Vita Christi Youth Community from the Church of St Ignatius plans to lead a contingent of 70 pilgrims to World Youth Day (WYD) 2016 in Krakow, Poland.

An Information Day on Oct 24 has been scheduled for those interested, and will be held in the church’s Annexe Hall at 120 King’s Road from 10am-1pm.

The WYD trip itself will be from July 14 to Aug 2, 2016, and the age range for participants is 18-30.

As part of the pre-WYD preparation, pilgrims will be involved in the MAGIS programme in Poland, which aims to help pilgrims experience Jesus’ unconditional love and discover His presence in everyday life.

This programme will be from July 15-25 and is a prelude to WYD which begins on July 26.

Registration for the Information Day may be done at tinyurl.com/MAGISWYD2016.

Br Jean-Denis Gervais passed away on Sept 29.Br Jean-Denis Gervais passed away on Sept 29.
Br Jean-Denis Gervais, SG, of the Brothers of St Gabriel in Singapore, has passed away. He had suffered cancer of the prostate and of the bones in his final years and returned to the Lord on the evening of Sept 29.

He was 85.

Br Denis was born on March 7, 1930, in Quebec, Canada. He arrived in Singapore in 1967 and served as a Math and Science teacher in St Gabriel’s Secondary School until his retirement in 2002.

Br Denis will be remembered for his great cheerfulness and love.

Br Gervais’ funeral Mass was scheduled for Oct 3 at St Joseph Church (Bukit Timah), followed by cremation at Mandai Crematorium.

We invite you to pray for him in your Masses and prayers.

Fr Antoni Ponnudurai passed away on Sept 23.Fr Antoni Ponnudurai passed away on Sept 23.Fr Antoni Ponnudurai, SJ, of the Kingsmead Jesuit community in Singapore has passed away. 

He had been admitted to hospital after a heart attack on Sept 17 and returned to the Lord in the early morning of Sept 23. He was 83.

Fr Ponnudurai was born on March 22, 1932, as the eldest of five children. He entered the Jesuit novitiate in Madurai, India, at the age of 19 and was ordained a priest on March 19,  1964.

He professed his final vows as a Jesuit six years later.

Fr Ponnudurai served in Mauritius and Medan before he was sent to serve the Malaysian Tamil-speaking communities in 1978.

After 10 years as the parish priest of the Church of Our Lady of Fatima, Kuala Lumpur, Fr Ponnudurai was sent to Singapore to minister to the Church of St Ignatius and the apostolate of Tamil-speaking Catholics in Singapore.
Archbishop William Goh stressed that migrants and locals need to be integrated.Archbishop William Goh stressed that migrants and locals need to be integrated.
Some 2,500 people, mostly Filipinos, celebrated the 24th anniversary of the El Shaddai movement in Singapore.

The event, which was also attended by locals, was held at D’Marque, Downtown East in Pasir Ris on Sept 27. It included a thanksgiving Mass celebrated by Archbishop William Goh and several priests.

Mr Mariano “Mike” Velarde, founder of El Shaddai, also gave a talk.

El Shaddai, which is the Hebrew word for God Almighty, was established by Mr Velarde in the Philippines in 1981.

Its members who worked and migrated to different countries, including Singapore, were responsible for opening the group's international chapters.

This year’s anniversary coincided with Migrant Sunday celebration. In his homily, Archbishop Goh stressed the importance of “migration and integration” in achieving the dream of the Catholic Church, which is “to build love and harmony as one family.”
Mr Alvin Yapp speaking to business professionals at the Catholic Centre. Mr Alvin Yapp speaking to business professionals at the Catholic Centre.

One of his employees had threatened to take his own life after losing all his money through gambling. After hearing of the man’s problem, Mr Alvin Yapp decided to help him as best he could.

“Whatever your problem is, I will solve it for you,” Mr Yapp, 45, told the man.

Mr Yapp, director of BusAds, a family-owned printing company, recalled that he was unsure what he should do, but through constant prayer, he helped the employee by managing his salary, and the man “has gone on to be one of my most loyal staff”.

Mr Yapp was speaking to about 40 business professionals at the Catholic Centre in Waterloo St on Sept 23 as part of a series of talks organised by the Catholic Business Network titled “My Journey”.

The aim of the talks is to help Catholic business professionals understand how their faith can help shape workplace practices.

Mr Yapp, who used to work for Singapore Airlines before joining BusAds, also shared how he attends morning Mass every day before heading to work.

“It calms me down and helps me think properly by spending quiet time to refuel my thoughts,” he said. “It can be quite powerful.”

CBN will hold its Christ@Work Conference for working adults at Catholic Junior College on Nov 28. For more information visit www.christatworkconference.com

By Jared Ng
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Archbishop William Goh with members of the Society of St Vincent de Paul after a Mass to celebrate the society patron’s feastday.Archbishop William Goh with members of the Society of St Vincent de Paul after a Mass to celebrate the society patron’s feastday.

Divine compassion is vital in the work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP). Without it, the work the society does is reduced to the purely humanitarian, and members would not be able to offer the fullness of the Gospel, i.e. Jesus, to others.

Archbishop William Goh made this point at a Mass to celebrate the society patron’s feastday at the Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace on Sept 28.

Speaking to about 400 members about the Vincentian spirit of service to the poor, he noted that if this comprises of only human compassion, it cannot make one a good apostle of charity. Human compassion is limited, myopic and dependent on human strength, he said.

He stressed to Vincentians that it is not enough to focus on the material needs of the poor, as the ultimate end of their service is to bring God into people’s lives.
With divine compassion, Vincentians will find the strength to love everyone like God, said the archbishop, who concelebrated the Mass with Fr Eugene Vaz and spiritual advisers from various SSVP parish conferences.

Fr David Garcia (far left) and Fr Charlie Oasan (fourth from left) pose with Catholics from Singapore at the World Meeting of Families held in Philadelphia, USA, from Sept 22-25. The event is held every three years and sponsored by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family.
Auxiliary Bishop Simon Poh was episcopally ordained on Sept 24.  - Photo: TODAY’S CATHOLICAuxiliary Bishop Simon Poh was episcopally ordained on Sept 24. - Photo: TODAY’S CATHOLIC
KUCHING, MALAYSIA – “Today as I stand in front of you as a bishop, it is not about me. It is about the Church gathered here,” said newly ordained Auxiliary Bishop Simon Poh Hoon Seng of Kuching, Sarawak.

More than 5,000 Catholics from Kuching archdiocese and other parts of Malaysia attended the episcopal ordination ceremony of Auxiliary Bishop Poh, 52, on Sept 24 at Stadium Perpaduan.

An auxiliary bishop assists the residential bishop of the diocese, in this case Archbishop John Ha.

The ordination was witnessed by 19 bishops, including Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia Archbishop Joseph Marino, 88 priests, 41 seminarians and members of Religious orders from Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.

Archbishop Ha was the principal consecrator with Archbishop Emeritus Peter Chung of Kuching and Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom of Sandakan as co-consecrators.

Immediately after he was ordained, Bishop Poh was welcomed by dancers dressed in the traditional attire of the Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu and Melanau ethnic communities.

After sharing a little on his vocation, he gave this advice: “Parents, give your children to God ... there will be blessings. Give thanks to our heavenly Father for he is exceedingly generous and He will give a hundred-fold.”

Q: I came across this term, “sonship”, twice recently and it was used to describe the relationship between Christ and us. I am confused because I had learnt that this term is used in our relationship with God since He is the Father and I am Jesus’ brother/sister because He is the Son of God. Has the Church changed its stand? Lilian Kwek

A: The doctrine that is at the heart of this question is what is sometimes known as the doctrine of supernatural adoption as children of God and at times also referred to under the rather ambiguous terms “divine filiation” or “divine sonship”.

This doctrine has its source especially in the teachings of St Paul who speaks of those baptised in Christ as being children of God in Christ Jesus through faith (cf Galatians 3:26-27).

St John the evangelist also alludes to it in the prologue to his Gospel where he tells us that the power to become children of God is given to all those who accept Jesus Christ (cf John 1:12).

What does this doctrine teach us? Essentially, from what St Paul teaches regarding our adoption in Christ Jesus, it means that in baptism we have clothed ourselves with Christ and by so doing, we have become co-heirs with Christ, sons and daughters of the same Father in heaven.

Each year, about 1,000 individuals become Catholic through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Mel Diamse-Lee finds out how some parishes integrate them into parish life and speaks with several new Catholics about their experiences.

Church Of Divine Mercy

Ms Michelle Lim speaking to children during Children’s Liturgy.Ms Michelle Lim speaking to children during Children’s Liturgy.
Over the last three years, the parish has experimented with:

  • Social nights – dinner with priests and sponsors at the church rooftop.
  • A whole RCIA session where the various parish ministries talk about their mission and work.
  • Attachment to the ministries during parish feast day.
  • Occasional home-based RCIA sessions conducted by the sponsors. However, RCIA coordinator, Mr Mark Wong, said, “These put a strain on the sponsors and also the sponsors have to be willing and able to conduct the sessions. However, these home sessions really bind them into the community.”
Ms Michelle Lim
Baptised in 2014

“More than a year before I was baptised, I joined the Children’s Liturgy (CL) Ministry. Unlike many, who serve in the ministry as a baptised Catholic, I must say that my situation is a little unique. I remember praying, telling God that I felt very ‘alone’ and I needed a community.