JANUARY 31, 2010, Vol 60, No 02

From Church of the Holy Family to Church of Divine Mercy

FEATURED HERE IS the Church of the Holy Family in 1937 – as a chapel.

This chapel was built in 1923 by then parish priest at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, Father Pierre Ruaudel, on land donated by Mr James Leonard Scheerder. It was dedicated to the Holy Family by request of Mr Scheerder.

Before the chapel was built, Eurasian families who moved into the Katong area had to celebrate Mass in one of the houses. With the chapel, they then had a proper church for Mass.

Over the next 10 years, more parishioners from the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd relocated to the east coast where housing was cheaper – it became apparent that the chapel built in 1923 could not accommodate all of them.

SINGAPORE – The Church of Divine Mercy (CDM) celebrated a Dedication Mass on Jan 9, attended by some 1,500 Catholics including parishioners and Divine Mercy prayer groups from all over Singapore.

Archbishop Nicholas Chia was the main celebrant of the Mass, alongside CDM’s parish priest Father Johnson Fernandez, assistant priest Father Ignatius Yeo and 29 other priests.

The dedication rite that evening saw a relic of St. Faustina deposited beneath the altar as well as the anointing, incensing and lighting of the altar and the church.

SINCE HER TEENAGER DAYS, Marion Fernandez has been writing Church-related poems and hymns that touch on the love of God in one way or another. The main recipients of her works have been her family and friends, be it for her parents’ 40th wedding anniversary or for friends getting married in the Catholic Church.

That circle, however, is now widening.

Last year, it hit Marion that “if I don’t do anything with them, I will be wasting my talents”. That’s when she quickly set to work on the CD album, “Blessed Are You: A Tribute To Our Blessed Mother”, because “my philosophy of life is that we have to make use of our talents to glorify God”.

She added: “I see this as something that can bring inspiration and comfort to those who are already Catholics and also to help evangelise those who are not yet Catholic but inclined towards the faith.”

EVERY YEAR IN FEBRUARY, an entire week is dedicated to raising awareness of Eating Disorders, characterised by abnormal eating habits that involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of a person’s physical, emotional and psychological health.

In the U.S., statistics estimate that eating disorders affect about up to five to 10 million females and one million males.

In Singapore, the numbers are climbing fast. Channel News Asia reported in 2007 that the number of teenagers with eating disorders had increased six-fold from 2002, while the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) reported 140 new cases every year with only 10-20 per cent seeking treatment.

Before 2002, SGH saw about 20-30 anorexic patients a year. In 2006, it saw 200.

Society of Paris Foreign Missions of Paris (MEP) Father Michael Arro has spent 53 out of 55 years of his priestly vocation serving Singapore and Malaysia in various positions and apostolate: as Professor in Theology in the seminaries of Penang and Singapore, member of the Senate of Priests, Superior General of the MEP for Singapore-Malaysia and chaplain to students. He tells Darren Boon that he finds parish work and being amongst the people the most fulfilling

SINGAPORE – At 80 years old, Father Arro is the oldest parish priest in Singapore. But age has not prevented him from continuing to visit members of his flock because he believes that such a gesture lets his parishioners experience the priest as a part of their lives. It also shows them that he is very much interested in who they are and the difficulties they face.

“Parish work gives me direct contact with the people. I like to meet people because people are my family…we are all one family,” said Father Arro, parish priest of St. Teresa. “I like to listen to what’s going on in their lives and eventually to affirm them and confirm them.”

He added: “You don’t go to ask them for any help or for giving you money. You go to their homes just to be with them.”