SEPTEMBER 2, 2018, Vol 68, No 18


Monsignor Philip Heng, SJ

In the last two parts of our journey in “Living a More Discerning Life” series, we reflected on discovering the deeper meaning of our daily living and our lack of “self-awareness” that can prevent us from living a more meaningful, peaceful and joyful life.

In this third part, it would be valuable that we reflect on the “ultimate destination of our life.” A greater clarity of this would give us a better sense of the direction, purpose and quality of our daily living.

What do most parents dream of for their children? Many, if not all, hope that they become “successful” in their lives. To achieve this, they perhaps hope that their children will study well, score good grades, have a good job, live comfortably, and better still become rich and famous. Parents know that such dreams do not come on a platter. Thus, parents make much sacrifices for their children.

David Fong

The late St Pope John Paul II was convinced that the well-being of both society and the Church depends on the vitality and strength of the family.

He could see during his time that the family would be subject to numerous forces that would seek to destroy it or in some way deform it. The complementary nature of man (husband) and woman (wife) and its purpose (indissoluble union and procreativity) have been increasingly rejected and a false vision of reality substituted for God’s created order.

In Familiaris Consortio, he wrote, “The future of humanity passes by way of the family. It is, therefore, indispensable and urgent that every person of good will should endeavour to save and foster the values and requirements of the Family.”

The annual Novena procession invariably draws large crowds. File Photo

Father Paul Pang, CSSR

My memory of the Novena devotions stretches back to over 60 years when I was still a non-Catholic. They were conducted in a parlour in the Redemptorist House, with about a dozen people. As the number of devotees increased, the devotions were transferred to the tiny chapel adjacent to the priest’s residence.

And, the numbers still continued to grow and the chapel had to be demolished to make way for a larger one. Eventually, it became necessary to build the two side wings. Today, because the Church was declared a conservation project, we were not allowed to demolish it to make way for the new Church. So the right wing merged with the new Church.

What attracts the large crowd of people of different races and religions to the Novena devotions? Redemptorist Fr Juan Campos, who spent many years of his life in China, said: “It is not we who draw the crowds. It is Mother Mary.” Fr Kevin O’Shea, a visiting Redemptorist, said the people flock to the Novena because we all need a mother figure in our life.
In this series on Catholic social service organisations, Catholic News features Boys’ Town. It celebrates its 70th anniversary as a place for young boys who need care and guidance to nurture them for their adult life.

Boarders are given the opportunity to grow and develop their potential.

Jared Ng

What started as a residential care for war-torn orphans after World War II has today evolved into a continuum of services and a one-stop children and youth centre.

Boys’ Town helps children and youth from disadvantaged and disengaged families who have faced hardships resulting from troubled home situations, financial struggles, abandonment and abuse.

The charity serves both boys and girls, from infant to young adults and its services include residential, fostering, youth outreach, clinical intervention and family reunification.

Genevieve inspiring her audience with her songs.

Marc Tan

It was a Saturday evening concert with a difference for the parishioners of the Church of St Ignatius. Instead of just engaging the audience with a musical presentation, singer and song-writer Genevieve Toh captivated them with her melodious voice and shared her journey to find Christ.

Held at the church itself on Aug 11, Genevieve, was accompanied by a team of singers and musicians mostly from the parish, and her sister, Germaine Toh. The concert was in aid of the AHUVA Good Shepherd Children’s Home located at Marymount Centre, Toa Payoh Lorong 8.

Through 11 of her original compositions prefaced by some words of explanation, scripture and exhortation, Genevieve took her audience on her journey through her past four years.
A race with a different focus …

Captain’s ball is one of the challenging games.

It was a special National Day celebration for 40 young Catholics on Aug 9 as they came together for the inauguration of the North District Games Day – where they held a form of the popular reality TV game show The Amazing Race coupled with various sports to give it a twist; such as captain’s ball and “running tic-tac-toe”. Two teams face off against each other in a race to see who can complete the tic-tac-toe sequence first.

Besides incorporating more physically demanding activities, there were many other events that challenged the participants as they visited locations such as Bishan Park and Thomson Plaza for the games that lasted from 8.45 am-1.30 pm. At specific stations, they were required to praise God via action songs and write down inspirational Christian messages on pieces of paper to be given to strangers. These messages would also have to include lyrics from National
Day songs.

The purpose of the games was to foster fellowship among the youth of the North District churches.

Ms Christine Wong (left) takes over the reins as Executive Director from Ms Bernadette Lau.

It is the call to share our professional talents and to get closer to God that lead many to work at Caritas Singapore. Caritas Singapore is the social arm of the Catholic Church for about 12 years now, with 27 Catholic charities and services under her umbrella.

Ms Christine Wong has taken over the reins from Ms Bernadette Lau since Aug 1. She is certainly a familiar face in the field of social work, as she was previously the Executive Director of the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS). She has served in the social service sector in Singapore for over 30 years, including her tenure with the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) and the Methodist Welfare Services.

She led the development of SOS services in the areas of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention over the last 10 years. Under her leadership, SOS garnered the NVPC (National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre) Volunteer Management Award in 2008.
Churches glow in the glory of God

An aerial view of the celebrations at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd.  Photos: VITA Images

As lights illuminated various buildings and art installations created a buzz in the city as part of the Singapore Night
Festival 2018, the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd and Church of Sts Peter and Paul revealed their own unique glow with the peace of Christ.

At the Cathedral, the theme of the celebrations focused on peace and harmony amid today’s climate of violence.

On Aug 17 and 18, people of different ages, religions and races flocked to the Cathedral to light about 30,000 votive candles that formed the phrase “Peace & Harmony”.

Singapore Catholic Deaf Community members at their 40th anniversary Mass.  Photo: VITA Images

Their hearing may be impaired or they may be totally deaf but that doesn’t deter them from their desire to search for God. They have a strong faith and through their Catholic community, they have come to know and grow in that faith, said Archbishop William Goh.

Speaking at the 40th anniversary Mass of the Singapore Catholic Deaf Community (SCDC) held at the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, he also urged more support and care for the marginalised in society.

Fr Adrian Yeo, the community’s spiritual director, and Franciscan Friar Rowland Yeo, who is also deaf, concelebrated the Mass.

1. Fr Erbin Fernandez has been given permission to be on sabbatical leave and rest with immediate effect.

2. Ms Pauline Goh has been appointed a member of the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning of Resources (ASPR) Council for a term of three [3] years with effect from 9 July 2018.

3. Ms Gan Siok Loon is reappointed as Director of the Board of ABLE SEAS for a term of two [2] years with effect from 17 May 2018.