AUGUST 15, 2010, Vol 60, No16

Deacon James Boey, SJ prostrates as Archbishop Nicholas Chia ordains him to the priesthood Aug 1 at Church of St. Ignatius.
Photos by Darren Boon

SINGAPORE – Despite being ordained to the priesthood at age 48, the seeds of service had been ingrained in newly ordained Father James Boey from young.

Service came naturally to the teenage James, as Father James recollected his pre-Catholic days serving in a Baptist church. He was involved in the church choir, youth ministry, Sunday school, and the church’s Mandarin-speaking evangelisation team where the team would visit factories to share the faith with non-Christians.

The church was a second home to James, where he will spend Sundays and weeknights at prayer. So much was he attracted to God and the service of God that he had a strong calling to become a pastor at the age of 22, to “spread the Good News and do more for the church in the Mandarin language”. But he felt he was too young to say yes to God’s call, and so decided to gain some working experience first.
The cast at rehearsal. Photo by Kirk James Raymond

SINGAPORE – Proceeds from the ticket sales of a musical to mark the Redemptorists’ 75th anniversary in Singapore and Malaysia will go towards the society’s community in recently earthquake-hit Haiti.

“The Reluctant Saint”, a musical based on the life of St. Alphonsus de Liguori, will be staged at The Republic Cultural Centre, Republic Polytechnic from Sep 6-9.

The charity aspect of the event is in the spirit of the founder, St. Alphonsus, who was “concerned with the suffering of the marginalised”, said Father Patrick Massang, CsSR, Vice Provincial of the Singapore and Malaysia Redemptorist community.

He said the Haiti Redemptorist church, school and community underwent widespread damage from the January earthquake.
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. CNS file photo

SINGAPORE – Starting August, Catholics in Singapore will participate in a year-long, global celebration of the centenary of Mother Teresa’s birth.

Along with other cities in the world, a centenary Mass will be celebrated in Singapore on Aug 26, the birth date of the beatified Catholic nun. Archbishop Nicholas Chia will be the main celebrant of the Mass, which is scheduled to begin at 7.00pm at Church of the Holy Spirit. This will be followed by the veneration of Mother Teresa’s relic.

Prior to the centenary Mass, local activities will kick off on Aug 17 with a nine-day Mother Teresa’s Novena with daily Mass at 6.30pm, followed by Novena at Good Shepherd Chapel, Marymount Centre. The venue changes on Aug 22 when Mass will be held at 10.00am at Gift of Love Home in Marymount Centre.

The late Pope John Paul II had called Mother Teresa “one of the most important figures of our time”. For her humanitarian work, particularly in founding the Missionaries of Charity to help the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

Youth performing the Japanese drums.
Photo by Adrienne Sng

SINGAPORE – When Benjamin Lee was 14 years old, he attempted to climb Mount Ophir in Malaysia. Midway through the ascent, the exhausted teenager wanted to give up. It felt too difficult. But right there beside him, a voice urged him on. Treat the mountain like your own life: If you cannot conquer the mountain, what about the difficulties you will face later in life. If you succeed in conquering it, then you will know that you have the ability and courage to face and do all things.

That was the voice of Uncle Beng Huat, a worker from Poverello Teen Centre, which helped transform Benjamin’s life since he was 13. The then-Normal Technical stream student, who was bullied at school, would no longer be lonely or lacking in self-confidence, thanks to the people and programmes at the centre.

“Poverello Teen Centre helped me to grow as a better person, and never looked down on me,” Benjamin said during a public event recently.
(Clockwise from above, left) Carnival-goers enjoying a game of flying daggers; Children enjoying a water sponge game despite the rain; Volunteer hairstylists trimming the hair of the beneficiaries. Photos by Kelvin Khoo

SINGAPORE – The rain did not stop over 2,000 people from enjoying “A Big Day Out 2010” on Jul 18.

The event, organised by Caritas Singapore for the second time, aims to bring fun and cheer to the beneficiaries served by its member organisations as well as the poor and needy from parishes.

Held at Boys’ Town Singapore, the carnival saw the involvement of the broader Catholic community who, together with their friends and families, generously stepped forward to offer their time and culinary skills to host 56 stalls dishing out free food, and 14 game stalls.

Activities lined up for the day included face painting, balloon sculpting, a bouncy castle and an instant photo booth where beneficiaries took an instant photograph against the event backdrop to remember the day. There was also a roaming magician who entertained the elderly folks who were less mobile and unable to visit the game stalls.