MARCH 20, 2016, Vol 66, No 06

Filipino couples who haven’t been married in church find help in Fr Luciano. Annabelle Liang reports

Fr Angel Luciano is chaplain of the Filipino community. He notes that wedding receptions in the Philippines are often a pricey affair, deterring people from church weddings.Fr Angel Luciano is chaplain of the Filipino community. He notes that wedding receptions in the Philippines are often a pricey affair, deterring people from church weddings.

On every third Sunday of a month, Filipino Fr Angel Luciano presides over an unusual celebration at the Church of St Michael.

There, he convalidates the marriages of Filipinos – with a few with kids in tow – at no cost. After the quick afternoon ceremony, infants are baptised. Some of them belong to couples whose unions were newly recognised by the Catholic Church.

The numbers are sizable: Since 1999, the Scheut Missions priest has seen one to three couples per month for convalidation.

“Many of them were focused on supporting their children and family in the Philippines. There was no time to think about getting married in church. It was the least of their problems,” he said.

“They have children; they are already committed to one another and have a life together.”
It took a real lamb Down Under to shed light about the True Lamb from up above. It took a real lamb Down Under to shed light about the True Lamb from up above.
In the Bible, there are more than 500 references to sheep, and “lamb” is mentioned more than 120 times.

Of all animals, the docile lamb had always intrigued me, more so during Holy Week.  

So on a recent trip to Perth, I took a long drive to a sheep farm seeking to unravel this scriptural peculiarity. I had wanted to understand why the lamb was so special and why it was used to personify Jesus.

Actually, what drove me was the desire to comprehend and capture the essence of Isaiah 53:7, referring to the Passion of Jesus Christ:  “Ill-treated and afflicted, he never opened his mouth, like a lamb led to the slaughter house, like a sheep dumb before its shearers, he never opened his mouth.”

Every Holy Week, I would listen to those familiar words as part of the liturgy. Sometimes, they floated over my head. Most times, they fell on fairly receptive soil. But for an urban dweller schooled in modern-day catechism, the lamb is like any other ordinary four-legged animal; the verses fired my imagination no more than a history book would excite me. And yet those words seemed like they had a loaded conjecture and continued to enthrall me.
Mr Vincent Lau, 77, was the oldest graduate in this cohort.Mr Vincent Lau, 77, was the oldest graduate in this cohort.
Ninety-five graduates of the Catholic Theological Institute of Singapore (CTIS) received their Diplomas and Certificates in Theology from Archbishop William Goh on Feb 27.

This was the first time that CTIS held a combined ceremony for the graduates of both its English- and Mandarin-language courses.

In his welcome speech, CTIS academic director Arthur Goh explained that Catholic educational centres such as CTIS cater to both laity and Religious, and are established and regulated by bishops together with the Holy See.

Archbishop William Goh set up the CTIS as a centre of higher learning in theology to better equip the laity for evangelisation, said Mr Goh.

In his address, Archbishop Goh asked the graduates if their faith in Jesus and their relationship with Him have grown as a result of their studies.

He said he considered it a failure if, despite acquiring more religious knowledge, they did not develop a deeper relationship with God, enrich their prayer lives or find more meaning in their lives.
A participant of the Treasure Young Adults Encounter Retreat reflects before the Blessed Sacrament. A participant of the Treasure Young Adults Encounter Retreat reflects before the Blessed Sacrament.

Young adults who attended a retreat organised by the Office for Young People (OYP) said it has given them clearer perspectives on how to lead their lives.

The Treasure retreat “gave me the opportunity to reflect on where I am and how I can move forward”, said Ms Cheryl Chee, 24, from the Church of the Holy Spirit.

She now feels more able to “lead a more authentic, mature Christian life in the face of pressures and adversities”.

“I came to Treasure lost; expecting an answer to a worldly problem,” shared Ms Melissa Lim, 23 from the Church of the Holy Cross. But the Lord addressed a spiritual and emotional wound that is far more important.”

Ms Chee and Ms Lim were among the 71 young working adults, aged 21 to 35 years, who attended the fifth run of the Treasure Young Adults Encounter Retreat. It was held at the OYP premises on Lorong Low Koon from Feb 25-28.
A sharing by Dennis and Grace from the Church of St Anthony and an Invitation
 
CEP couples vow to live the “Humanae Vitae Way”.CEP couples vow to live the “Humanae Vitae Way”.
When we got married 15 years ago, we were hardly prepared for what marriage had in store for us. In retrospect, our journey looked like a game of chance survival - like newly hatched turtles trying to make their way to the open seas - rich and easy pickings for many predators. We experienced the usual difficulties of new marrieds, and the arrival of our child made it even more challenging. There were certainly some difficult experiences which threatened the very survival of our marriage. Looking back, proper formation in marriage along with guidance from the lived examples of experienced couples could have spared us many of the dark threats.
Individuals who intend  to sign such directives  should make sure they  talk to their loved ones,  doctors, caregivers  and pastors about the care and treatment  they would like to have  if they reach a point  in their lives when they can no longer speak  for themselves.Individuals who intend to sign such directives should make sure they talk to their loved ones, doctors, caregivers and pastors about the care and treatment they would like to have if they reach a point in their lives when they can no longer speak for themselves.Q: I have two questions on the Catholic faith in connection with AMD (Advance Medical Directive) and ACP (Advance Care Planning):

1) Does signing an AMD goes against Catholic teaching?
I have signed that document a few years ago because I do not want my life prolonged in the case of terminal disease with no hope of cure. But one of my Catholic friends says that signing an AMD may go against Catholic teaching. Therefore she hesitated to sign it.

2) Does signing an ACP go against Catholic teaching if I state in that document that in case of terminal disease with no hope of cure, I do not wish to be resuscitated, nor do I want to be intubated and attached to a ventilator?

As a Catholic I do not support euthanasia. I just wish to die naturally without any medical intervention which would only prolong my suffering before dying. But I do accept palliative therapy. - Oei Khoen Hwa, Singapore

A: If you want a quick answer to your question, it is “yes”. Catholics can sign AMDs. But there are conditions that must be met, and a Catholic needs to understand why these are in place. Just signing an AMD without knowing about what our faith teaches about such issues could end up being a difficult issue for ourselves and our loved ones.
People participate in Eucharistic adoration at the Church of the Risen Christ. People participate in Eucharistic adoration at the Church of the Risen Christ.
Responding to Pope Francis’ call to participate in the “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative, several parishes in Singapore held Eucharistic adoration and reconciliation services from the evening of March 4 to the evening of March 5.

The pope launched this worldwide initiative in 2014, to be held on the Friday and Saturday preceding the fourth week of Lent. Churches were invited to be open all night for Eucharistic adoration and confession, to help Catholics receive the mercy of God.

The parishes in Singapore that participated in this observance included the Churches of the Risen Christ, Holy Cross, Sacred Heart, Divine Mercy, St Vincent de Paul and Christ the King.

Eucharistic adoration and reconciliation at selected timings were available at all six parishes.

Prayers, such as the Benediction, Divine Mercy prayer, praise and worship, rosary, novena and Stations of the Cross were also conducted.