FEBRUARY 4, 2018, Vol 68, No 03

When God Has Other Plans For You

By Wendy Tan

My world fell apart 15 years ago when I found out that my husband was having an affair and had fathered a child with this woman. It felt as though a sword had pierced through my heart and whatever trust I had in him was destroyed.

But deep down inside, I believe that a marriage is meant to last forever and I was sure there was a way to salvage ours. Our son was only three years old then and I couldn’t imagine putting him through the ordeal of a divorce.

So we stayed together for another seven years trying to make things work. But the conflicting feelings of anger, injustice and grief festered within me. While I doubled my efforts to be a better wife and mother, at the back of my mind I was always questioning: “Why me, God? Why did this have to happen to me?”
The bishops of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei discuss upcoming trip to visit pope and major Vatican offices

Participants at the bishops’ conference meeting. Seated from left: Archbishop Simon Poh (Kuching), Archbishop William Goh (Singapore), Bishop Sebastian Francis (Penang), Archbishop Joseph Marino (Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia), Archbishop Julian Leow (Kuala Lumpur) and Archbishop John Wong (Kota Kinabalu).
Standing from left: Sr Margarete Sta Maria (executive secretary), Bishop Cornelius Sim (Brunei), Bishop Cornelius Piong (Keningau), Bishop Richard Ng (Miri), Bishop Joseph Hii (Sibu), Bishop Bernard Paul (Melaka-Johor) and Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom (Sandakan).

By Vincent D’Silva

“You are going to Rome to see Peter, to share the experiences of the Gospel in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei with the Holy Father.”

So said Archbishop Joseph Marino, the Vatican’s envoy to Malaysia and Apostolic Delegate to Brunei, to the region’s bishops as he opened their bi-annual meeting.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei (CBCMSB) were meeting at the Majodi Centre in Plentong, Johor Bahru, from Jan 8-12.

A teacher assists a Hai Sing Catholic School student with lighting a candle on the first day of school.

Hai Sing Catholic School traditionally begins each school year with three activities that seek to bring students and staff of all faiths together.

These are the Staff Mission Seminar, the school opening, and the Student Mission Seminar.

On Dec 29, school staff visited the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM) House of Prayer and Formation at Holland Road for the Staff Mission seminar.

Young people praising God at the JY AGAPE EVE event.

It was an evening of music and praise for about 140 young people as they prayed and sang during the JY AGAPE EVE event on Jan 20.

The event, organised by Jesus Youth Singapore, was held at the Agape Village. It aimed to bring God’s love to young people as a band led them into a time of prayer with Christian songs ranging from pop to rock.

The audience was also invited to dance to some songs.

During the Commencement of the School Year Mass, retired principals passed on the flame from their candles to serving principals and vice-principals, symbolising the passing of the light from one generation of school leaders to the next.

A teacher is called to motivate his or her students. For this to happen, teachers must be passionate and regard teaching as a vocation, not just a means of earning a living.

Archbishop William Goh made this point during a Mass to mark the start of the school year.

Speaking to principals, vice-principals, teachers, parents and students on Jan 20, he said that the school principal’s role is to nurture teachers’ passion for their work by sharing with them the school’s vision and mission.

Msgr Ambrose Vaz blessing members of the legal profession at the Red Mass on Jan 12.

The special mission that members of the legal fraternity play in society was highlighted during a special Mass on Jan 12.

“We especially need you in society and the Church to bring truth and justice to the people; and truth and justice are not concepts but a person – Jesus Christ,” Msgr Ambrose Vaz told about 130 members of the legal profession during the Mass at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd.

To do this, they need to have a relationship with God so that He will be the centre of their lives, and this will help them discern His will for them and the people they serve, said Msgr Vaz at the annual “Red Mass” organised by the Catholic Lawyers Guild (CLG).

Archbishop William Goh praying for the RCIA catechumens gathered for his catechesis at the Church of the Transfiguration on Jan 13. Photo: VITA Images

Frequent the sacraments, read the Gospels and flee from temptation.

This was some advice that Archbishop William Goh gave to more than 400 RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) catechumens gathered at the Church of the Transfiguration on Jan 13.

Organised by the Office For Catechesis in collaboration with the Office for the New Evangelisation, the archbishop’s catechesis aimed at helping the catechumens from 24 parishes and churches prepare for baptism at Easter

Bishop Sebastian Francis of Penang, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, has issued a letter to all bishops of the conference on abstinence and fasting during Chinese New Year.

In the letter dated Jan 15, Bishop Francis said that at the meeting of the bishops’ conference in January 2017, “we have decided that we give dispensation to all Catholics from fast and abstinence from meat on Friday, 16 February 2018 in view of the festive season of Chinese New Year”.

However, “fast and abstinence on Ash Wednesday will remain as usual”.

Ash Wednesday falls on Feb 14 this year.

‘Samuel’ (left) speaking to De La Salle Br Collin Wee in HopeHouse.

By Jared Ng

Samuel (not his real name) used to have frequent squabbles with his mother who had a drinking problem.

“My parents divorced when I was about seven and my mum and I never really got along well,” shared Samuel, 18, adding that his mother also suffered from depression for a period of time.

These arguments sometimes turned physical and it began to affect Samuel’s well-being and education, causing him to get into fights, pick up drinking and eventually dropping out of school and leaving home.

‘Justin’ (right), seen here with De La Salle Br Collin Wee, scored 10 points for the O-level examinations despite being in the Reformative Training Centre.

By Jared Ng

I realised I was reckless and always took my life for granted, said Justin (not his real name) when asked what his biggest takeaway was after spending 27 months in the Reformative Training Centre (RTC).

The RTC is a place where those under the age of 21 found guilty of offences such as theft, assault and drug abuse are sent to.

However, Justin was given an opportunity to take the O-level examinations as a private candidate in the RTC and scored 10 points including distinctions for Principles of Accounts, Business Studies and Religious Studies.

Former CHIJ St Theresa’s Convent student Samantha Gan spent many days at home and at the hospital doing her own revision.

By Jared Ng

Samantha Gan has mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that develops from the layer of tissue covering many of the internal organs.

Despite this, the former CHIJ St Theresa’s Convent student went on to score distinctions in Elementary Mathematics, Additional Mathematics, Humanities, Pure Biology and Chemistry in the O-level examinations.

At the tender age of nine, she was diagnosed with cancer which required surgery to remove a tumour behind her liver.
Christians from various Churches come together to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Representatives from various Churches praying together at a service at St Andrew’s Cathedral.

By Christopher Khoo

“What unites us is infinitely greater than what divides us.”

Rev Canon Terry Wong shared this in his homily at a Week of Prayer for Christian Unity service on Jan 23.

Speaking to the crowd at the Anglican St Andrew’s Cathedral, comprising Christians from various Churches, the cathedral vicar noted that Christians “are certainly not uniform”. However, they do share a unity in Christ. “May we continue to desire for more,” he said.
Principal Eugenie Tan and Sr Theresa Seow speak to Catholic News about this move

Canossa Convent Primary School will go co-ed in 2019 and will be renamed Canossa Catholic Primary School.

By Jared Ng

Canossa Convent Primary School (CCPS) is set to go co-ed in 2019 for its Pri 1 intake.

An official announcement was made earlier in January by Canossian provincial Sr Theresa Seow and principal Eugenie Tan to the Canossian alumni exco and parents.

“We hope to raise daughters and sons of Canossa with a Canossian education focused on character and formation of the heart,” Mrs Tan told Catholic News.