OCTOBER 23, 2011, Vol 61, No 21

Dear Hindu friends,

I join with you in celebration of Deepavali, the Festival of Lights, which celebrates the triumph of good over evil.

As Hindus in Singapore and around the world celebrate this joyous festival with family and friends on 26 October, the Catholic community joins with you in prayer for a continued strengthening of bonds and illumination of minds in our communities, as we work together for the common good.

We deeply value the work we have done in conjunction with representatives from the Hindu community, as well as other religions in the Presidential Council for Religious Harmony.

The poor and needy are not as helpless as some of us think. When challenged and empowered, they can prove surprisingly resilient and able to help one another effectively.

DO less, not more, is a principle that a group of social workers working in one of Singapore's oldest and poorest public housing estates try to abide by. They want to do less for the poor they work with – yes, less, not more.

Their approach goes against the instincts of most good-hearted people who work or volunteer in the social service sector. Surely, society should be asking what more we can do for the poor, especially in a rich country like Singapore? What could justify doing less?

But these social workers' aim is to create opportunities and motivation for self-help and mutual help. They believe in a "strengths-based" approach to helping the poor, rather than a "needs-based" approach.

"The helping profession is about getting people to help themselves," said a spokesman for the group. "Ironically, the more 'professional' we appear to our service-users, the more unlikely it becomes for them to step forward to help themselves. The more we appear to know about problem-solving, the less help we get and the less people want to get involved. We must recognise this if we want people to be active participants in the creation of solutions. We must really be able to talk less and listen more."
The sun rises over the Sea of Galilee. The Gloria was first used in the Liturgy of the Hours during the morning prayer as a hymn of praise. CNS photo

A look at changes in the Gloria in the new missal

THE GLORIA was first used in the Liturgy of the Hours during the morning prayer as a hymn of praise for the glory and peace given through Christ’s resurrection (symbolised by the rising sun in the morning).

It began to be used at Mass in the early sixth century and has always marked more festive occasions in the Church.

The Gloria fittingly follows the penitential rite, allowing God’s people to burst into praise for the mercy received in response to our admission of sinfulness. It is a poetic text of numerous scriptural quotes.
A monarch butterfly rests on a flower. CNS photo

God speaks to us in Creation, if we care to listen. A man once came across a chrysalis and watched in awe as the little creature struggled to emerge from its translucent cocoon.

It took a long time, so the man thought he would assist by cutting through the tiny hole for the butterfly to break free. Alas, what emerged was a swollen body with prematurely-developed wings. The poor creature could only stumble about, never able to fly.

When we rely too much on technology or quick-fix solutions for comfort and instant gratification, we soon experience a disconnect with the natural, more God-centred way of life.
ACMA stands for Archdiocesan Commission for Missionary Activity. The short description is that ACMA is responsible for directing the missionary activities of the Singapore archdiocese.

In the past, it was responsible for all activities that pertained to the missionary mandate of Christ (see Matt 28:19-20) within Singapore.

In recent years, with separate committees and structures formed to take care of inter-religious dialogue, ecumenism and human development, the commission focuses its efforts on formation of evangelisers with the help of the New Evangelisation Team (NET), promoting mission awareness with the Mission Awareness Group (MAG) and has embarked on formation of lay missionaries.