SEPTEMBER 16, 2018, Vol 68, No 19

Let us be inspired by the unfailing commitment of our priests and Religious for faithfully living up to their vows


La Salle Brother Gregory Lim 75 years



La Salle Brother Gregory Lim, 94, celebrated his 75th anniversary of his first Religious profession.

He made his first vows on Oct 7, 1943, and final vows in 1949.

Br Gregory has been an educator all his life. He came from a devout Catholic family consisting of four brothers and four sisters. Three of his sisters joined the Religious congregations, two of whom are Canossian Sisters and one, a Little Sister of the Poor.
In following the footsteps of St Francis, who is the patron saint for animals and the ecology, the Church of St Mary of the Angels is unique in its own way. JARED NG looks at the church in this series on parish communities.


The Church of St Mary of the Angels sits on a hill in Bukit Batok.  Photos: LUMINAIRE PHOTOGRAPHY MINISTRY

On a hill in Bukit Batok is a church that the Franciscan friars in Singapore have called home for the past 60 years.

What started as a simple chapel in 1958 has today grown into a vibrant, nature-caring and evangelistic church known as the Church of St Mary of the Angels.

Following in the footsteps of St Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscans, the friars live and preach the Good News, serving the parishioners and the community. The church collaborates with other faith groups and secular organisations to reach out to the poor and needy living in the neighbouring Bukit Batok area.

A sharing by Alvin on his painting on the calm after Jesus had quietened the storm.

The venue was not a church but it was a meeting room. At the front, instead of a rostrum there was an easel and a white canvas mounted.

Everyone sat in anticipation as Mr Sylvester Singh from the Office for the New Evangelisation (ONE) read out the Gospel of Mark 4:35-41, where Jesus urged His disciples to have faith after they feared drowning in the storm.

It was a prayer session. To be more accurate, it was a prayer with an element of meditation. The 30-odd people in the audience were asked to visualise the image of the Gospel passage that was read to them. They were each given paper, pen and pencil. And as they listened to the reading accompanied by the sound of the sea, the waves and the storm, they were asked to write words and draw images that came to their mind.

Msgr Heng and MCCY’s Ms Goh (front) were among the speakers at the seminar.

The important roles that Catholic religious and community leaders play in building relationships with their counterparts from other communities was highlighted at a seminar recently

The Archdiocesan Catholic Council for Interreligious Dialogue (ACCIRD) Social Cohesion Seminar was held at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd on Aug 25. It was organised together with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) for Catholic members of Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles (IRCCs). Forty-seven IRCC representatives from 29 parishes attended.

During the seminar, Monsignor Philip Heng, the Vicar-General for Interreligious Relations, noted that ever since Nostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council’s 1965 Declaration On The Relation Of The Church To Non-Christian Religions, popes had worked to strengthen interreligious relations throughout the world.

Archbishop William Goh addressing catechumens as part of their preparation for the Sacraments of Initiation.  Photo: VITA Images

Alfred Yap

Read the Word of the God and pray with adoration, contrition, thanksgiving and supplication.

These were words of advice that Archbishop William Goh gave to about 500 RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) catechumens across the archdiocese as part of their preparation for the Sacraments of Initiation into the Catholic Church.

They, together with their coordinators and some sponsors, had gathered at the Church of St Bernadette on Aug 25 to listen to the Archbishop as he helped them better understand what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

The fun way to bonding for parishioners young and old.

Andrew Kiflie

If you think this is all kids’ stuff – then think again. This is a game with a serious objective in mind. It is the Church of St Anthony’s way of getting everyone to take part in a Street Challenge.

The winner is all the parishioners who took part – they made lasting friendships and made many new friends.

“I enjoyed the games a lot with my teammates and my greatest takeaway was that it is important to just have fun in the games,” said Madeline Ng, 20. “Winning isn’t as important.”
Taking a cue from piecing broken ceramics


A Brisbane Catholic principal guiding local educators on how to mend broken art pieces during their retreat.  Photos: ACCS

Karen Matilda Tan

The next time you feel broken or experience hopelessness, well don’t despair. Take a leaf from the Japanese art of kintsugi, where by repairing broken ceramics you are able to give new life to pottery. And, the end product may be even better than the original.

This was the lesson shared by a team from Brisbane, Australia, with some 100 Catholic school teachers and principals during a recent retreat. They found that in kintsugi one learns that there is an alternative way to add value to a broken object.

In fact, the principle in this art can be applied to help students view setbacks as opportunities for growth.

The new St Francis Xavier Seminary is next to St Joseph’s Church (Bukit Timah).

Jared Ng

Seminarians were reminded by Archbishop William Goh of the three leadership qualities they must have as they prepare for their formation to the priesthood, namely, humility, compassion and collaboration.

He acknowledged the many challenges that the Church faces today to attract young men and women to serve God as priests or Religious. The community has high expectations of the clergy, and it didn’t help with the recent sex abuse scandals involving the clerics. Archbishop Goh made these points in his homily to celebrate the opening and blessing of the newly completed St Francis Xavier Seminary on Aug 22. The seminary sits on freehold land next to St Joseph’s Church (Bukit Timah).

One way to combat the challenges is for Church leaders to be “good role models and examples” for future generations of leaders, he said. The real vocation promotion is through “living a life of joy and humble service” for Christ, he added.
Parents and educators share what they believe are the strengths of Catholic education in this feature to mark Catholic Education Sunday, celebrated on the weekend of Sept 8-9.



Christopher Khoo

Though both Mrs Maggie Lee Dabbs and her husband were not Catholics when their son was due for school enrolment, they decided to put him into St Joseph’s Institution Junior in 2003.

“The choice of SJI was a decision we made as we wanted our son to grow up with values that both my husband and I believe in,” Mrs Dabbs told Catholic News. The couple felt that the Catholic school would reinforce what they taught him at home, “which is the respect for humanity and … a belief in the intrinsic value of life”.

“And we were not disappointed as his experience in Catholic schools have enabled him to grow up with these values,” said Mrs Dabbs. Her son, Spenser, later entered St Patrick’s School.

Devotees gathered around to photograph the crowned icon of Our Lady. Photos: MICHAEL LIEW

Jared Ng

“Mary, Our Mother of Perpetual Help, we remember today all the times you have stood by us fervently in prayer ... We ask that you continue to pray for us and our families.”

Redemptorist Father Simon Pereira proclaimed these heartfelt words during his homily at the Sept 2 Mass which was the first procession of Our Lady’s icon since Novena Church underwent a major rebuilding programme in 2015. The church was officially reopened in September last year.

Against the backdrop of the natural disasters and conflicts that have impacted countries as well as the scandals in the Church, Fr Simon implored Our Lady to continue to watch over the faithful and “help us be a community that cares for the poor and abandoned.”


My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

You must be wondering what is going on in the minds and hearts of the Archbishop and his priests with regard to the revelation in August 2018 that some 300 priests had sexually abused over a thousand minors in Pennsylvania over the last 70 years. Like you, we are shocked and dismayed at the severity and extent of the abuse described. Some of the clergy implicated operated at the highest echelons of power in the US church. We feel extremely sad that those young people have been hurt, and are suffering even now, the effects of the trauma of being abused by the very people who were entrusted to protect and to shepherd their souls. As clergy, we feel terribly ashamed and betrayed by the evil and selfish acts of our brother priests who slaked their lust on the young and vulnerable children placed under their care, stripping them of their innocence. We are even more scandalized to read that some Church leaders deepened the pain by snuffing out evidence and shielding their subordinates.

We are as bewildered as you with regard to the many diverse and conflicting reports on the sex abuse of minors in the United States. We are in no position to judge the merits of the various allegations. We have to depend on those responsible to seek out the truth so that justice can be done. It is best at this stage not to speculate but to wait for the events to unfold, as the gospel says, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” (Lk 8:17) Let us trust that good and sincere leaders of the Church are searching for the truth and will get the answers for us.
Carmelite Sister Francede talks about her intimate love for God and how she hopes to share this love with others through prayer


Sr Francede, seen here at her solemn profession. Photo: VITA Images

Jared Ng

Before she knew about the Religious life, Francede was in Thailand working as a caregiver for the elderly.

One evening in 2004 when she was 24, she took a taxi in Bangkok and was heading to her friend’s house.

After an hour’s ride, she sensed that the driver was taking her to a different route, certainly not the way to her destination. Instinctively, she put her hand into her handbag and reached out for her rosary. Though terrified, she calmed herself and began saying her prayers to Our Mother. Her quick-thinking action was noticed by the driver when he stopped his vehicle at a secluded spot, came out of the driver’s seat and glared at her.
The Archdiocese Professional Standards Office ("PSO") was set up in 2011 after studying the processes in Australia. This was done during the time of Archbishop Nicholas Chia. It was set up to deal with sexual abuse against children and young people. 

More recently, the Vatican had instructed every Diocese to have its own office to deal with incidences of sexual abuse and harassment of minors and young people. The Catholic Church in Singapore has in place a document that promotes a safe environment, including the implementation of a protocol to receive any complaint of sexual abuse or harassment of a minor or young person.

In line with this, we have begun to put in place certain instructions and best practices for parishes to adhere to. The PSO will continue to strengthen the safe environment initiatives through training, workshops and internal communications. 
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

You must be wondering what is going on in the minds and hearts of the Archbishop and his priests with regard to the revelation in August 2018 that some 300 priests had sexually abused over a thousand minors in Pennsylvania over the last 70 years. Like you, we are shocked and dismayed at the severity and extent of the abuse described. Some of the clergy implicated operated at the highest echelons of power in the US church. We feel extremely sad that those young people have been hurt, and are suffering even now, the effects of the trauma of being abused by the very people who were entrusted to protect and to shepherd their souls. As clergy, we feel terribly ashamed and betrayed by the evil and selfish acts of our brother priests who slaked their lust on the young and vulnerable children placed under their care, stripping them of their innocence. We are even more scandalized to read that some Church leaders deepened the pain by snuffing out evidence and shielding their subordinates.

We are as bewildered as you with regard to the many diverse and conflicting reports on the sex abuse of minors in the United States. We are in no position to judge the merits of the various allegations. We have to depend on those responsible to seek out the truth so that justice can be done. It is best at this stage not to speculate but to wait for the events to unfold, as the gospel says, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” (Lk 8:17) Let us trust that good and sincere leaders of the Church are searching for the truth and will get the answers for us.