To inspire a New Evangelisation in our Catholic archdiocese, the archdiocesan Strategic Planning of Resources (ASPR) team will be undertaking a two-part archdiocesan quantitative and qualitative survey.
The entire survey will provide clearer bases for the strategic planning of our archdiocesan resources and financial budget requests.
The first survey is an update on parish Mass attendance. It will be a simple on-line (Internet/smartphone) survey at http://survey.catholic.sg. It will be conducted and completed during the weekend Masses of Jan 16/17, 23/24, and 30/31.
The second component of the survey is a “Catholic Conversation” with individuals and groups on “What it is like to be a Catholic in our Singapore Church” today.
The fruits of this survey depend on the full participation of all Catholics.
His Grace Archbishop William Goh thanks you in anticipation for your support and fullest participation for the good of your parish and the whole archdiocese.
The Internet/smartphone survey is located at http://survey.catholic.sg
Sr Teresa Lee, FMM, (far left), seen here with other FMM Sisters and laypeople who work in the Atelier.
By Jared Ng
Here, they produce Church vestments: chasubles, bishop vests, copes and mitres, surplices, stoles, choir gowns and baptismal gowns. Other items include altar linens and lectern cloths, and banners for Church organisations and schools.
The late FMM Srs Lilianne Lebel, a French-Canadian, and Sr Ciro, an Italian, launched the vestry ministry in 1954. They felt that the FMM Sisters in Singapore could provide vestments for local and regional clergy as a service.
Redemptorist Fr Francis Vijayan said that ‘counselling people about marriage, addictions and other issues’ is something he enjoys as a priest.
By Jared Ng
Some of these, he said, are whether he has lived up to the role he has been called to and if he is inspiring vocations through his work as a priest.
Others include dealing with the workload as well as people’s expectations of him as a priest.
Fr Cornelius Ching’s advice to those thinking of joining the priesthood: ‘Be true to your heart and be ready to take that leap of faith.’
By Jared Ng
Since his ordination to the priesthood in August 2016, there have been many “ups and downs” in his vocation, says Fr Cornelius Ching.
However, “nothing has surprised me,” he said, adding that his time in the seminary benefitted him and other seminarians as they were able to “share about their pastoral experiences” after returning from respective attachments to a parish.
Fr Cornelius, 41, said he enjoys accompanying people through good and bad times, and also couples through the joys of marriage.
By Msgr Philip Heng, SJ
If this question evokes an immediate, “No, not me,” then let us be more open to pondering on our faith more deeply and not take the way we live our faith for granted. This is because our answer to this question reveals the quality of our relationship with Jesus.
We all have a very personal way of living our faith – whatever this may be. Some Christians may practise their faith in church and say their prayers, but such spiritual engagements are separated and have no significance to their secular living.
Ms Michelle Voo speaking at the archdiocesan-run workshop, ‘Untangling Fake News’.
By Christopher Khoo
These were issues that an archdiocesan-run workshop, titled “Untangling Fake News”, addressed on April 14.
Fake news appeals to stereotypes, and people’s social prejudices and emotions, said Ms Michelle Voo, vice-president of the Catholic Lawyers’ Guild, and one of three speakers at the workshop.
Current and former school leaders cut the anniversary cake on April 6 as Fr John Bosco looks on.
In place of the 5Cs that society advocates – namely cash, credit card, condominium, car and club – young people today should cultivate compassion, chastity and character, in order to be the cornerstone of their community.
Fr John Bosco, parish priest of the Church of St Teresa, gave this suggestion to students of CHIJ St Theresa’s Convent during their 85th anniversary Mass on April 6.
Infant Jesus Sisters, members of the IJ board of management, principals of affiliated schools, ex-principals and ex-staff, as well as parents, alumni, current staff and students attended the Mass.
Franciscan Friar Julian Mariaratnam blessing the executive committee members of the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.
“God directed me to serve in this ministry although I had no knowledge or experience of migrants,” said Ms Elizabeth Tan, an Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ACMI) staff of 18 years.
She was speaking to Catholic News on April 8 at Agape Village after the thanksgiving Mass to celebrate 20 years of ACMI’s work and service.
Ms Tan noted that today, more Singaporeans are accepting of migrants and appreciative of their contributions as foreign workers, domestic helpers or foreign students.
At the April 10 interreligious event. From left: Sr Maria Lau, IJ, (chairperson of ACCIRD); Ms Tengku Suhailah binte Tengku Kamarudin (staff, Zakat and Wakaf Strategic Unit, Asset Development Cluster, Muis); Fr Avelino Marin, Opus Dei (ACCIRD member and moderator of panel discussion) and Rabbi Jean-Pierre Fettmann (Rabbi of Chesed El Synagogue).
Although there are differences in the understanding of when life begins, human life is a gift from God.
This was the agreement among three religious representatives during an April 10 interreligious panel and discussion.
Rabbi Jean-Pierre Fettmann, Ms Tengku Suhailah binte Tengku Kamarudin and Sr Maria Lau, IJ, were the three speakers from the Abrahamic faiths who spoke on the topic of birth and religious initiation in their respective religions of Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
President Halimah Yacob painting a part of an Assumption Pathway School student’s art piece during the April 13 celebration.
By Jared Ng
Through the support of Assumption Pathway School (APS), former student Muhammad Nor Bin Jasmi has become “a confident young man who firmly believes that he can go further in life with hard work and perseverance,” said President Halimah Yacob.
“He had very supportive teachers in APS who never gave up on him. They encouraged him to explore and pursue his interests,” she said during the 10th anniversary celebration of APS on April 13.
APS is a Catholic educational institution which helps students who are unable to access mainstream schools to have an education. Students at APS undergo an alternative curriculum that focuses on vocational skills which prepares them for further education at the Institute of Technical Education, according to the school’s website.
President Halimah Yacob poses for a photo with Canossian assistant head girls (from left) Alessandra Anthony, Hannah Tan and Kok Xiu Min.
Canossian school students learnt what it meant to be a leader from President Halimah Yacob and other speakers at a recent leadership symposium.
Leadership is first and foremost about service to others, Singapore’s first woman president told some 400 girls, teachers and Canossian Sisters at the opening of the Be Empowered – a Canossian Girls’ Leadership Symposium on April 4.
She reminded the girls how important it was to be always fully present in school, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.
Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Chia is joined by Cardinal Anthony Soter Fernandez of Malaysia and Archbishop William Goh as he blows out the candles on his birthday cake.
By Jared Ng
He was speaking during his 80th birthday celebration held on April 7 at the Church of the Holy Cross, where he was parish priest for more than 20 years.
In the presence of fellow priests and loved ones, Archbishop Chia blew out the candles on his birthday cake and received specially-made shirts with his name embroidered on them as a present.
A day of recollection for young lawyers and lawyers-to-be has left them refreshed and energised.
“I started the retreat feeling tired and desolate from work. The retreat helped me gain a sense of community,” said Ms Geraldine Yeong. “I feel really rejuvenated and hopeful about life and practice now.”
Ms Hilda Foo echoed Ms Yeong’s sentiments. “It was comforting to hear others share about their struggles,” she said. “I appreciate how my fellow Catholic lawyers try to find God in their daily lives.”
The Catholic Lawyers Guild organised the July 23 event at the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Retreat Centre.
Barré is a group of Singaporean Catholic volunteers who have been working with underprivileged children in Southeast Asia since 2010.
From July 17-23, the missioners headed to Kontum, 600 km north of Ho Chin Minh City, to reach out to the Bahnah community through education to give them hope of better opportunities in life.
The missioners conducted English lessons and teachers’ training sesssions daily for local teachers during their stay.
The Daughters of St Paul are releasing a cookbook containing various recipes from the Sisters.
Titled Taste of Heaven, the cookbook was scheduled to be launched on Aug 13 at a fundraising dinner, to aid the building fund for a new convent for the Sisters.
The book offers recipes of local delights, ranging from Peranakan to Teochew and Hokkien dishes, among others.
Sr Wendy Ooi, superior of the Daughters of St Paul in Singapore, and Sr Jocelyn Kwek share a hearty selection of home-style recipes.
“It is very inspiring and encouraging to experience the solidarity of the various Religious congregations, coming together to share their blessings with their fellow Religious,” said Daughter of St Paul Sr Jocelyn Kwek.
The Church of St Vincent de Paul hosted 150 participants from Cheng San for an interfaith visit on July 30.
The event was organised by the Cheng San-Seletar Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle (IRCC) and aimed to increase participants’ awareness of the various religions in Singapore as well as how places of worship are extending a hand to the community around them.
BACK in 1974, a year after abortion was fully legalised in the United States, Katherine White (not her real name) was enjoying her senior year of college. Her parents were proudly anticipating her graduation; she would be the first college graduate in the family.
“When I found myself pregnant, I was in denial,” she said. “I was frightened. I was too ashamed to tell my parents.” Yet White assumed her boyfriend would support her. They would get married and have the baby.
“He didn’t want anything to do with it,” she told The Catholic Accent, newspaper of the Diocese of Greensburg.
The idea that “I can do, or be, anything if I put my mind to it” encourages people to strive for excellence and break down barriers.
But applying this individualistic mindset blindly to all areas of life – in particular, vocation and human relationships – is a recipe for disaster when it reduces those around us to objects that exist to fulfil our desires.
A woman cannot become a wife or mother “by herself” – she needs a man to marry her, and to father her children.
“To help people experience the love and mercy of God, to bring the community together,” said Fr Cornelius Ching when asked about his aspirations as a priest.
The 39-year-old was ordained on Aug 9 at the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In his speech after the ordination Mass, he thanked all who helped him through his seminarian journey and gave special thanks to his family for their “unending support and love”.
The newly ordained priest then approached his parents, his younger brother who is a teacher, and his grandmother seated in the first pew, and blessed them.
- Arrived in Warsaw, Poland
- Visited the St Maximilian Kolbe Shrine and Monastery in Niepokalanów
- Visited Church of St Anne in Old Town, Warsaw
It was beautiful and inspiring for me, personally, to revisit St Maximilian’s life. He is, after all, the patron saint of journalists, and I am one by profession.
An experience that changed me happened when I was attending weekday morning Mass at a parish and there was this couple who were perpetually late. They would appear when the celebrant was sharing his homily.
After Mass, some of us would gather together for breakfast and we would gossip about this couple and how disrespectful they were to Jesus to receive communion even though they were late for Mass.
One morning, I met a friend who was attending the weekday morning Mass and I was sharing my disappointment with her.
Welcoming elderly parishioners to the church grounds to participate in spiritual, physical and mental activities.
This initiative, known as the Golden Circle, is one of the unique characteristics of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (OLPS).
Others include a cafe operated by the youth community, a dynamic Filipino community and a monthly devotion to St Padre Pio.
Over 150 people turned up for this year’s Catholic Family Dialogue on 23 July at Catholic Junior College. Organised by the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family (ACF), the event sought to explore the relevance of the Catholic Family in today’s challenging world.
It was due to the apparent decline of the practice of the faith at home that prompted the organisers to go for the theme ‘Will the Catholic Family Still be Relevant Tomorrow’.
Mr Kevin Simon, 27, was among the participants who signed up for the event. A volunteer at a youth centre, he went with the hope of learning how to reach out to troubled teenagers. He was accompanied by his mother, Mdm Debbie Ng, 58, who hopes to help her grandchildren grow in the Catholic faith despite life’s distractions.
Directors of the region’s Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) reflected on Pope Francis’ message for World Mission Sunday during their recent annual meeting.
The PMS is the official missionary arm of the Catholic Church charged with the work of evangelisation and charitable works throughout the world.
In his message for World Mission Sunday, which will be celebrated on Oct 23, the pope invited everyone to “go out” as missionary disciples, offering their talents, wisdom and experience to share the message of God’s tenderness and compassion.
During the PMS’ June 27-29 meeting, which had the theme, Missionary Church, Witness of Mercy, participants discussed what the pope said about the growing presence of women in the missionary world, working alongside their male counterparts, as a significant sign of God’s maternal love.
Almost 10 percent of people in Singapore suffer from anxiety and depressive disorders, according to a study of mental disorders here. However, they generally wait six to nine years before seeking help.
Dr Raja Sathy Velloo, an associate consultant in the Department of Community Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, shared this information with about 100 people who attended a talk on anxiety.
The event, held at Agape Village on July 9, was a joint collaboration between Church mental health charity, Clarity Singapore, and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital Thrive, a community mental health programme managed by the hospital.
In his talk, Dr Raja Velloo explained that the term “anxiety disorders” is an umbrella term encompassing many different types of anxiety disorders.
Anxiety is a basic emotion that everyone has and it helps people to perform well in their tasks, he said.
However, when the anxiety level becomes overwhelming, it affects a person’s ability to function. This is when treatment is necessary.
Dr Raja Velloo shared that the types of anxiety disorders prevalent in Singapore include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, Generalised Anxiety Disorder (excessive anxiety about everyday life events) and agoraphobia (irrational fear of being in places where escape is difficult or embarrassing).
We have many things to thank God for our nation. The nation is what it is today because we have been blessed with strong leadership in our country, whether it is in the political, religious or economic arena.
This heinous act is not just an attack on the Catholic Church, but an attack on all of humanity and decency. In recent times, terrorists have targeted diverse groups of people and events. Earlier this month, just before the celebration of Eid, ISIS terrorists bombed the holy city of Medina, killing many Muslim believers.
About 200 people, comprising mainly families with special needs members and their supporters, attended a special event for them on July 9 at the Church of the Holy Spirit.
The Everyone is Special event was conceived by parish priest Fr Andrew Wong who wanted to dedicate it to family members with special needs in this Jubilee Year of Mercy.
Fr Andrew started the event with Mass. Two boys with special needs were altar servers. Theodore Wong, a teenager with autism, proclaimed the first reading and two girls in wheelchairs presented the offertory.
In his homily, Fr Andrew emphasised that people with special needs and their families were part of the parishes. Just because they might not be seen at Mass does not mean they are not there.
SINGAPORE – “If a doctor tells you tomorrow that you have one year left to live, do you think you will let life happen to you?” asked Fr Richards Ambrose.
He posed this question to 230 people, gathered for a seminar titled Discipleship at the Workplace held on July 9 at the Church of the Holy Cross.
The seminar was to launch ABLAZE, the parish’s new young adults ministry.
Fr Richards introduced the seminar by shedding light on topics of Christian identity – discerning and living out God’s will, identifying spiritual values in jobs and what true joy and contentment really are.
Instead of a themed dinner or dance party, this year’s Canossian’s Connect, an annual event of the Canossian Alumni Association, took place outdoors in a form of a race.
The Canossian Heritage Race for Funds was held on July 9 and the flag off was at the parochial house of St Joseph’s Church, Victoria Street.
The event was fashioned after The Amazing Race, a popular reality show.
Participants were made up of teachers, nuns and ex-students of St Anthony’s Canossian Secondary School (SAC) with graduates from 1972 to 2014, as well as children of alumni who are still studying in Canossian primary schools.
All latecomers should understand that they are distracting other parishioners who may be in silent prayer.
I am sure that all parishioners appreciate the voluntary work carried out by the church wardens in guiding parishioners to their seats as well as other duties.
From my observations, many wardens are treating these disrespectful late comers as “VIPS” by guiding them to look for seats. Some wardens will even bring them to the front of the pews to get a seat with a vantage view of the Mass.
After two years of renovations, the Church of Sts Peter and Paul held its dedication Mass on June 29.
About 1,000 people attended the Mass of the Dedication of Church and Altar, and many could be seen smiling as they entered the newly refurbished 146-year-old building.
Some of the new features in the church include a high marble altar, black-and-white cement-tiled flooring, a new rose stained-glass window on the front façade of the church, and air-conditioning.
Catholic Junior College (CJC) students recently held an exhibition on human trafficking.
Partnering with EmancipAsia, a local non-governmental organisation, the exhibition was displayed at the school foyer from June 27-July 15 and was an initiative of 21 CJC students to raise awareness of the issue.
It aimed to underscore the relevance of human trafficking to Singapore and also sought to encourage the CJC community to play a part in ending it.
In May, a student-initiated service learning project saw CJC students travelling to Batam to aid orphans and exploited women.
The parochial house of St Joseph’s Church (Victoria Street) was gazetted as part of the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) efforts to protect Singapore’s built heritage.
The announcement was officially made at the church on June 30.
Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong was the guest-of-honour at the event.
In his address, he highlighted the significance of the 104-year-old building.
“It has survived World War II and three generations” and is “a testament to the multi-ethnic roots and the open, inclusive nature of Singapore,” he said.
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