JUNE 26, 2016, Vol 66, No 13
“As parents, we have a responsibility to show our children the importance of family prayer. When we pray, we put aside anger and frustration and ask for forgiveness. This enables us to grow spiritually together with God as a family,” said Mrs Sylvia Aloysius-Tan, whose three sons are altar servers at St Vincent de Paul Church.
The Kim family, on the other hand, finds it a challenge to set aside time to practise the Catholic faith after the arrival of their second child. Apart from reading Noah’s Ark and other bible stories to their two-year old, Alex and his wife do not lead an ‘active Catholic faith life’ and sometimes miss attending the Mass, too.
“This seems to be getting more common among Catholic families these days, where work and domestic issues imperceptibly take precedence over the practice of the faith,” observed Mrs Annabella Long, a mother of two school-going boys. “We are also often confronted by the distractions of social media and other supposedly important preoccupations,” added the 46-year-old parishioner of Christ the King Church.
Initially starting out as a modest wooden church, the Church of St Stephen now caters to about 1,500 parishioners. Most are elderly people living in the mature estates in the MacPherson area.
Some of the special characteristics of the church are its hosting of a free tuition service, its senior group ministry and its Block Rosary Group.
Macpherson Free Tuition Project
The church hosts a free tuition service for less privileged children living in the vicinity on Saturdays from 10 am to 11.30 am.The programme started in 2011 after a group of non-Catholic secondary and tertiary students approached the church for help in hosting this programme.
“Take away this feeling of lousiness,” Gemma Foo prayed to God as she lay in hospital with a ruptured spleen.
The para-equestrian, a parishioner of the Church of the Holy Spirit, fell off her horse during a training session in Cologne, Germany, on Easter Sunday.
Her horse, Cassis, was startled by a loud noise and ran, causing the 20-year-old to fall off.
Her one fear as she lay in great pain in the hospital in Cologne, was that she would not be able to compete in the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in September. This was a concern that she brought to God in prayer, she told CatholicNews in Singapore after her operation in Germany.
“There was a small chapel in the hospital where patients could go and pray,” she recalled, adding that she visited the chapel a few times during her 10-day stay in the hospital.
Despite an increasingly challenging economic outlook and numerous fundraising events, Catholics, their families and friends have banded together, to generously support this annual campaign, said Caritas Singapore.
Charities Week is the annual archdiocesan fundraising campaign organised during Lent every year by Caritas Singapore, the social and community arm
of the Catholic Church in Singapore.
Caritas leads and coordinates 24 Catholic charities, and serves more than 50,000 people, regardless of race, religion or nationality.
“We are elated by the show of support,” said Mr Tan Cheng Han, Caritas Singapore’s fundraising chairman. “Thank you very much to all donors. We expected that it would be difficult to match the 2015 collection, much less look forward to any growth. With God’s grace, we did well. I am very happy with the amount raised.”
Caritas executive director Bernadette Lau said: “The funds collected will enable us to continue to live out the social mission of the Church, serving all in need.”
Donations collected during the Charities Week campaign will be used to fund the operations of Caritas Singapore, Agape Village, member organisations, programmes and services.
Most recently, these include support for adults with intellectual and development disabilities by Mamre Oaks, art therapy to help with the mental and emotional well-being of individuals by Clarity Singapore, and other community programmes such as computer literacy for seniors.
|DIAMOND JUBILEE – 60 YEARS|
FMM Sr Margaret Hiang
One of the new topics that the School of Christian Leadership (SOCL) camp dealt with was personal purity.
Participants at the camp, held from May 27 to June 4, learnt about the dignity that God has assigned to men and women, the consequent respect and responsibility that each gender has towards each other, expressed through modesty and establishing healthy boundaries in relationships.
The event was organised for Catholic students from local universities to learn more about Christian leadership.
Seventy-one university students attended the camp which is the largest turnout since SOCL started in 2014.
Jesus Youth is a Catholic lay movement that began in Kerala, India, in the early 1980s and has now spread to 35 countries around the world.
The new status, conferred by Bishop Josef Clemens, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity on May 20, gives the organisation the official status of a global Church organisation, allowing it to continue to function with autonomy as a lay movement.
The same decree gave approval to its statutes.
Jesus Youth is the first movement in the history of the Catholic Church in India and the second in Asia to receive such a pontifical approval.
Couples for Christ, which is based in the Philippines, is the other lay movement. The Vatican approved it as a private international association of lay faithful in 2000.
The Office for Young People (OYP) organised two events for freshmen and current students. Kickstart 2016, held from June 10-11, aimed to help university freshmen prepare for life in university.
The School of Christian leadership (SOCL) camp, held from May 27 to June 4, saw its largest turnout of university students learning about Christian leadership. (see story "Learning about purity and being a Christian leader")
Both events were held at the Office for Young People at 2 Lorong Low Koon.
In its third annual gathering for incoming freshmen, Kickstart 2016 saw 51 of them from seven universities and 21 parishes connecting with the various university campus communities and gaining insights on what to expect in university
They and about 40 current university students were also introduced to each other through games and fellowship.
More than 100 people of different nationalities gathered for a three-day experience on the meaning of unity and how to start building it.
The event was the annual Mariapolis (City of Mary) organised by the Singapore community of the international Focolare Movement. The event is held all over the world during the summer months for people who want to know more about Focolare’s spirituality of unity.
At the local event in Johor, participants listened to talks and personal experiences about how to bring about unity. The theme of unity has been written about extensively by Focolare’s founder, Chiara Lubich, and more recently the current president of the movement, Ms Maria Voce.
It was a joyous occasion on May 27 as Canossian Sr Vittorina Lamperti celebrated her 100th birthday at St Joseph’s Home.
Forty-four Canossian nuns from Singapore and Malaysia, three priests, residents and staff of the home, volunteers and friends attended the event.
Among them were seven of the Italian nun’s “boys” whom she loved and cared for when they were little orphans, after the Second World War.
They were housed and boarded at Canossa Convent way back in 1948, and have since grown up to be husbands and fathers.