FEBRUARY 28, 2010, Vol 60, No 04

I am the daughter of wonderful loving parents; and was a very good student, even winning a scholarship because of my good grades.

I went to the University away from home. It was not the first time I lived away from home so it was not a problem for me. Plus, I always was a very well behaved girl, a very good student, very responsible, nice, sweet, a model of a girl. Maybe that was the problem then. I had a loving boyfriend, who till today is still a good friend.

I became pregnant.

My boyfriend told me “We do as you want, we can get married but you know my parents will kill me…”. On my side I felt the same. In that state of confusion, I felt that if I had gone through with the pregnancy, I would be disappointing my parents. I was the perfect daughter!  Plus I had a great future to live.

Enjoying his ministry to the sick and elderly, sharing the spiritual journey with aspirants and postulants, and being passionate about interreligious relations all stem from Redemptorist Father Jacob Ong’s knack of being a ‘people-person’. Joyce Gan reports


FATHER JACOB ONG’S close interactions and relationships formed with the La Salle Brothers in St. Patrick’s was the first sign of a calling to the priesthood. But while the plan to become a De La Salle Brother did not go through, and the young Jacob had started work, “still, [the thought of] religious life was brewing” in him, he confessed.

One day, while hearing Father Paul Pang preach the life of St. Gerard Majella, Jacob was drawn by the saint’s “prayerfulness and compassion for the poor” to see first-hand the life of the Redemptorists.

It was not his first encounter with them though. When he was younger, he had witnessed their care for his family and neighbours through home missions they had conducted.
LENTEN MATHEMATICS – 6 x 7 = 42; 42 + 4 = 46;

46 – 6 = 40. Let me explain the Lenten mathematics. There are six Lenten Sundays – each week has 7 days that makes it 46 days. In fact in Lenten mathematics you have add four more days, since lent begins not on a Sunday, but on a Ash Wednesday, so Wednesday to Saturday makes another four days, and when you plus with 42 days that makes the total 46.

According to serious Lenten mathematics Sundays are calculated because each Sunday is a mini-easter, so when you minus six Sundays you reach total 40 days of lent – 40 days of prayer, almsgiving and fasting non-stop, all to follow the Lord of the Lent – Jesus who loved us and gave his life for us on the Holy Cross, on a Good Friday.

Volunteers of the Chinese New Year bake which include Shirley (fourth from left) and, Feifei, (third from left) with their creations – heart-shaped pineapples tarts and coconut kisses (above) Photo by Darren Boon

Some regular items that Five Loaves bake – an upside down cake (left) and biscotti (extreme right) Photos by Church of St. Mary of the Angels


SINGAPORE – Women’s chatter and peals of laughter punctuate the bake room as the occasional ‘squeal’ from the ovens jostles for attention.

In the weeks leading up to the Lunar New Year, the ovens were working twice as hard as members of ‘Five Loaves’, a baking ministry at the parish of St. Mary of the Angels, readied cookies for sale to parishioners.

Papal preacher Father Raniero Cantalamessa speaks to SACCRE members (inset) Father Raniero with a SACCRE member.
Photos by Carl Ferrao


SINGAPORE – The Holy Spirit works within the Church in two directions: through the Pope and then transmitted to the bishops, priests and laity; and from the charisms of the laity as they contribute to the sanctification of the Church, said Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa to about 160 charismatic prayer leaders on Feb 4.

Singapore Archdiocesan Catholic Charismatic Renewal (SACCRE) members gathered that Thursday afternoon at St. Francis Xavier Major Seminary for Father Cantalamessa’s talk titled “Exercising the ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit”.

In 1980, Pope John Paul II appointed Father Cantalamessa as preacher to the papal household. He preaches in the presence of the pope, cardinals and bishops during Advent and Lent.

The Italian-born Capuchin friar explained that the Holy Spirit’s action is two-fold. On one hand, the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit calls the faithful to holiness and charity. On the other hand, His charismatic action gives the faithful charisms which are “special gifts for the common good”.