Parishioners of the Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace meditating before Mass. Parishioners of the Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace meditating before Mass.

If you walk in 15 minutes before Mass at the Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace this Lent, you may notice parishioners sitting still, eyes closed and deep in prayer.

Usually there will be a flurry of activity 10 minutes before any Mass begins with the faithful scurrying into church with animated children on tow. Liturgical ministers will also be busy with last minute preparations.

However, these activites can lead to difficulties in paying attention and staying focused during Mass.

With this in mind, parish priest Fr Joachim Chang approached the Christian Meditation group to introduce silent meditation to help parishioners quieten and calm down before Mass. The pilot project started during Advent 2014.

Now parishioners are advised to arrive 15 minutes before Mass. Beginning with a five-minute silent reflection flashed on the AV screen accompanied by sacred music and lights dimmed, a chime signals the start and end of the five-minute silent meditation.

In the tradition of Benedictine monk Fr John Main, the congregation is taught to sit still and to come to an interior silence by the quiet repetition of a single prayer word “Maranatha”.

The meditation has received positive feedback.

Ms Monica Ang said that the meditative prayer before Mass was meaningful and better prepares her for the celebration.

Parishioners said that they were generally happy with this method of deepening prayer and hope it would help them stay focused during Mass.

By James Galvin Loh

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