Participants of the July 30 interfaith learning journey pose for a photo with parish priest Fr Michael Sitaram in front of the Church of St Vincent de Paul.Participants of the July 30 interfaith learning journey pose for a photo with parish priest Fr Michael Sitaram in front of the Church of St Vincent de Paul.

The Church of St Vincent de Paul hosted 150 participants from Cheng San for an interfaith visit on July 30.

The event was organised by the Cheng San-Seletar Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle (IRCC) and aimed to increase participants’ awareness of the various religions in Singapore as well as how places of worship are extending a hand to the community around them.

Arriving in four buses, the participants were ushered by church wardens into the nave of the church where they were welcomed by parish priest, Fr Michael Sitaram, and members of the parish pastoral council (PPC).

Mr Sudirman, 71, brought his whole family to take part in the interfaith visit.Mr Sudirman, 71, brought his whole family to take part in the interfaith visit.Many of the visitors were seen viewing the stained glass windows and the flowers and candles decorating the altar. They listened intently as Mr Leonard Neo, chairman of the PPC, as well as other speakers, explained about Jesus, Mary and St Vincent de Paul, patron saint of the church.

There was also a sharing on the various parts of the church, including the tabernacle, confessional box and Stations of the Cross.

A 15-minute video on the Mass was screened, which explained the significance of the Mass for Catholics.

Participants also learned about the history of the church’s set-up in Jalan Kayu in 1963.

The work of the church in the community, and also the work of all the Societies of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) were outlined to visitors.

Members of the Cheng San-Seletar IRCC thanked the church for putting in the effort to provide Chinese translation during the sharing as well as Chinese subtitles in the video.

Mr Ang Hin Kee, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, was also present during the visit. He reflected on the need for promoting mutual understanding given the way the world has recently been shaken by acts of violence by extremists.

He encouraged participants to share what they had learned during the visit with their friends.

“We learned a lot about the Mass! The sharing was informative, clear and detailed,” said Ms Alice Seah, one of the participants.

Ms Yeo Pheck Suan, 68, appreciated the warmth of the sharing and the purpose of the visit. She said, “It’s important to understand and care for one another.”

Mr Sudirman, 71, who had rounded up his whole family to take part in the visit, their first to a Catholic church, said, “We are happy about being able to visit!”

After lunch in the church cafeteria, participants left to continue their learning journey at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Silat Road Sikh Temple.

By Melissa Lim

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