NOVEMBER 2006

I need to see the reaction of the masses as I am sure that this is up on every minds consciously or unconsciously.

I read the CN issue and was surprised to note that the church pays about S$500k for stained glasses and S$350k to build parlours and rooms. It is always good to improve the image of the Church. I am in favour of air conditioning our Churches, as our country is relatively humid and there are frequent noises. The environment will be cooler and more conducive to meditation and prayers. The church must not look run down. We must maintain it as this is the house of our Lord, our Father.

I am however, sceptical at the expenditure such as stained glasses. It is a very good intention to spend the money that the Church receives. We cannot be seen as hoarding our money. Any collection made must be for some needs. If there is a huge balance it means we are "rich".

I would be pleased to note that we use money to provide shuttle service for old people and handicaps, who wants to attend masses. We could pay for vans, drivers and attendants. We could utilize the money for purchasing teaching religious materials, rosaries, medallions, images, etc for free handouts. We could organize "free" food and fun fairs for church goers, neighbourhood old folks and children. Once in a while we can send some priests and nuns or a really poor soul to a pilgrimage to a fully paid pilgrimage to the Vatican or the Holy Land and let their wish come true.

I know that we do not have any poor people here. Some of those who come for the St. Vincent De Paul's free rations could afford to buy cigarettes, too. Donations sent to poverty stricken countries may not reach the needy. We should make some good use to the money. Basically, it seems a good idea but of no returns if we beautify the church on the outside. I want the money to buy us spiritual worth. The more we give the more we will receive.

I hope that the church employs a very conservative approach in requesting tender or quotation for reconstruction, renovating, etc. I look at the cost some seems to be extremely high. I hope I am wrong.

Finally I am never too comfortable with the offering of the collections within the sanctuary. It makes one to wonder why we are using the money that we offered to God. Instead we can offer to God written testimonies of our repentance, thanksgiving, praises and glories, scented flowers, etc. Most importantly, we must need to offer ourselves and service to serve God and His people. I can never think what material things God would need from us other than for us to give up our uncaring, ungrateful, selfish and egoistic lives. We must build the Church, that is all of our faith and we must beatify and beautify it, which is our souls.

 

    Peter Andrew

    Singapore 160122

MY PRESBYTERIAN friend tells me that the faithful in his church go on their knees to receive Holy Communion every Sunday. They have great reverence for Holy Communion even though they do not believe it to be the real Body of Jesus Christ.

Some Catholic priests find it a burden to give Holy Communion to some laity who prefer to kneel. A priest once gave me an absurd reason that we need not kneel because Jesus had risen from the dead.

If Catholics believe in the doctrine of transubstantiation, why shouldn't they be encouraged by priests to kneel and receive the real Body of Jesus?

 

    Nelson Quah

    Singapore 650524

During all my life as a catholic Christian, I have countless encounters with Christians who, by mere virtue that they are "baptised" - christened - claim that they are "bound to go to Heaven" after death. Yes indeed, all Christians must share this same belief - the fundamental tenet of our faith.

However, I have the feeling these spoken words, "whoever believe in Him shall have eternal life....." calls for a deeper and more profound meaning of the word, "believe". By merely professing that he is baptised does not automatically entitled any Christian to a place in the Kingdom of God. When we say we believe in someone, it goes beyond accepting that person as oftentimes, we can accept another person without wholly believing in him. Thus, when we proclaim ourselves as Christians - CHRIST's followers - we must therefore believe wholly in Him; in His Way and then follow Him......that, to me is the the true meaning when we utter "I believe......"

I pray and hope that CHRISTians everywhere who unreservedly proclaim that they believe in Christ will also walk unhesitatingly in His Way while proclaiming His Truth, led by His Light this Christmas and always.

    Paulus

    Singapore

I'm so glad that the article Decorum at Mass (Catholic News Nov. 12) has finally been published.

I've on many occasions approached the parish priests of a few Churches on this matter but every time they fell on deaf ears. Or the priest would reply and say that if they were strict on this, especially on the subjects of Reverence and Silence, it would drive away the young from attending Mass. I just wondered, "Is it better to have the youth come for Mass and allow them to chit-chat and even joke around whilst receiving Holy Communion?"

With regard to Silence, I've noticed that Churches are unusually noisy with people chit-chatting just before the Christmas midnight Mass and at Easter eve. An entire Church seems to have been converted into an indoor stadium just before a match or a rock band concert.

I clearly recall how in the "old days" the parish priest of St Joseph's Church (P.M.) would refuse giving the Holy Eucharist to any lady who had flash revealing clothes. Nowadays, it seems a common feature to see some ladies in bustiers, plunging necklines, bare backs and even dressed in micro-mini skirts. Surely the devil would like to take this opportunity to have our male worshippers distracted.

Kudos to the parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes' Church who has pasted a notice onto the door of the Church entrance regarding dress code and parishioners abide by the notice to the very letter.

I wonder again, "Are we too high up there or what, as not to be able to follow our Christian sisters and brothers of Our Lady of Lourdes' Church?" Or do we rather wear the latest fashion trends and ignore "Reverence, a traditional hallmark of most Catholic parishes throughout the world," to quote your article.

    Robert Bacsafra

    Singapore

ON 9 NOV, many Catholics and some non-Christians celebrated with great joy the 3rd anniversary of the Infant Jesus Devotion at the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, Queen Street, Singapore.

We would like to say a big thank you to the Carmelite priests for holding without fail every week on Thursday and Sunday at 5.30pm and 4.00pm respectively this beautiful and inspiring devotion for the past three years.

Please continue with this devotion with the same format of prayers and special benediction. I encourage those who have not been to the devotion to come and experience the Lord's abundant blessings.

    Nelson Quah

    Singapore 650524