SINGAPORE – Isabel Chua has always been a good listener when friends needed someone to talk to. Now conversations with friends have improved even further as she has learnt to practise “a new way of listening and responding”.

Ms Chua belongs to the first batch of para-counsellors to be trained by Family Life Society (FLS) in collaboration with the Centre for Family Ministries (CEFAM), Ateneo de Manila University.

Assisted by CEFAM Director/CEO Father James Gascon, Archbishop Nicholas Chia presented Certificates (photo) and Diplomas to 24 and 25 graduates respectively.

The graduation ceremony was held following FLS 25th anniversary Mass at the Pines Club on Feb 6. It was attended by over 150 people comprising FLS staff, volunteers, supporters, and representatives from affiliates.

In his homily, Archbishop Chia urged families to follow the ideals of the Holy Family, and to adopt values integral to strong family ties which are important and relevant to society.

“In this world, there are families with setbacks. That is why FLS is in existence – to help rebuild the lives of these families,” concluded.

In his address, Father Gascon encouraged all at FLS and the para-counsellors to continue to step forward to help those in need because we are here in life to extend our services to others.

“I have been enriched tremendously in the journey to be a volunteer counsellor. When counselling others, I feel I am in touch with the fragility and beauty of life in all its complexity. I come away feeling blessed for the opportunity to connect with and perhaps console a fellow human being,” said Ms Chua.

Father Edmund Dunne founded FLS in 1985. From being primarily a one-room Pregnancy Crisis Centre at Selegie Complex, it has become an active provider of a range of programmes, services and support for individuals, families and the community located now at Highland Road.

FLS President Bernard Yu said, “Our strength lies in our team of committed staff and volunteers who identify with FLS vision and mission in being pro-family and pro-life. We will continue to spread the ‘Familiaris Consortio’ culture in the Catholic community [and] build strong families based on the model of the Holy Family.”

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