MARCH 27, 2011, Vol 61, No 6

Stefni & Alvin, proud parents of Timothy

Upon discovering the joyous news of my wife being pregnant, our excitement quickly turned to fear and anxiety as a whole list of questions came knocking at our door! Being a first time mother-to-be, my wife slipped into a mild depression, she was at a loss and unsure of what to do next. She expressed her fears on whether the baby was going to be healthy, good looking or intelligent.

With each visit to the gynaecologist, both my wife and I carried hearts filled with anxieties and uncertainties. We were worried that the gynaecologist would discover some deformity of the child. We were afraid that our baby’s development would be abnormal. 

As the tummy slowly began to show, we both heard a lot of comments from experienced moms and dads regarding the various delivery methods- Epidural, Caesarean, Suction etc.  All of these sounded overwhelmingly scary, in addition to the many labour hours that some wives have to endure! I started to feel the heavy burden on my shoulders and prayed endlessly that my wife would somehow be able to cope with the labour pains.

It happened a long way from home.

About ten years ago, I was working abroad when an ex-girlfriend dropped by. We spent the day, and then the night, together. About two months later, on a Friday evening, just before heading home from work, I received an email from her. “I am pregnant” it simply said.

I remember not remembering much at all that weekend. Sleep was my escape. I must have slept through most of Saturday and much of Sunday morning. Each time I awoke, I would look at the screen hoping that there was no message, hoping it was all a bad dream. But those three terrifying words were always there, screaming silently back at me.

It was Sunday afternoon when I finally called my parents. They were the people I most wanted to talk to and, at the same time, the people I dreaded  talking to most. But loneliness, isolation, 

helplessness, and desperation won in the end. I think it was my mother who picked up the phone. It was small talk at first.  Then the hard talk. “Mum and dad,” I finally said, “I have some news for you, and it isn’t good. B came for a visit. One thing led to another.  I slept with her and now she’s pregnant.”

VATICAN CITY – As fighting between rebels and government forces in Libya intensified, Pope Benedict XVI called for aid and assistance to civilians caught in the conflict.

“Recent clashes have caused many deaths and an increasing humanitarian crisis” in Libya, the pope said after praying the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square on March 6.

He expressed his concern over the growing crisis and said his prayers were with all victims and “those who find themselves in distress”.

“I appeal for assistance and aid for the people who are hit” by the crisis, he said.

More than 1,000 are believed to have died after pro-democracy protests began in mid-February. A violent crackdown on the popular movement also triggered a large exodus of people, including migrants. Many people were said to have fled to Egypt and Tunisia.

Rebels opposed to the 42-year rule of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi have tried to take control of cities in the country’s western and eastern regions, and forces loyal to the Libyan dictator launched aerial bombing raids in a counteroffensive.

Bishop Giovanni Martinelli of Tripoli, Libya, said there were clashes “in the mosque after prayers in central Tripoli” on March 4, but that most of the capital is currently “well-guarded” by government forces.

However, “the situation is very uncertain and for the moment anything is possible”, Bishop Martinelli told Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

“In my view, the international embargo and threats are unlikely to convince the Libyan authorities to surrender,” he said.
For every Mass, the choir plays an important role in livening up the celebration and adding value to the Mass.

When nice and meaningful songs are sung, it’s inevitable that one feels truly touched. The congregation is then also more likely to participate.

From my decades of experience attending Masses in many different parishes, the choir singing for the early morning Sunday Masses, eg. the 7 am one, as well as the last Mass for the weekend, usually consists of a handful of mainly elderly people, sometimes even just one elderly person singing solo.

Hence I was truly surprised when I started attending the 7 am Mass at the Church of the Holy Spirit.
Caravaggio’s Deposition From the Cross is now made accessible to the blind in a new tour.

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican Museums have launched special tours for the deaf and blind.

These two-hour tours are free and seek to offer a multi-sensory experience of some of the museums’ most famous works.

The tour for the deaf includes stops in the Raphael Rooms, the Sistine Chapel, and visits to the classical statues collection.

The itinerary for the visually-impaired includes a blend of sensory experiences.