FEBRUARY 10, 2013, Vol 63, No 03

Reading the Gospel story of the blind man of Jericho (Mark 10:46-52) never fails to inspire my own faith in the Lord Jesus. For this Lent, especially appropriate to the Year of Faith that we are celebrating, I wish to contemplate with you this passage from scripture.

Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, had spent much of his life without sight. He had heard about Jesus of Nazareth and all the wonderful things Jesus had said and done – he knew that Jesus had a reputation among the people as a healer.

Many modern people including Catholics know about Jesus but, like Bartimaeus, through various circumstances of life have not yet encountered Him personally. If we allow it, this Year of Faith can be that opportune time for each one of us to encounter the person of the Risen Lord.

When he heard that Jesus was nearby, Bartimaeus tried to call out to Him: “Son of David, have pity on me.” The title that Bartimaeus chose to address Jesus is significant. Instead of just “Jesus” he used ‘Son of David’ which was reserved for the One who is awaited by the Jewish people – the Messiah of God.

Bartimaeus’ humble cry revealed his faith to all around him – that he recognised Jesus as the Holy One promised for the salvation of Israel.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we celebrate the Lunar New Year during this Year of Faith, I would like to express my best wishes to all Chinese Singaporeans that this feast may bring about an increase of faith and love for you and your families.

Faith is an expression of believing in God, even when we do not always understand God’s will in our lives.

To truly live faith-filled lives, we must rediscover a greater understanding of our Catholic faith. It is through a re-evangelisation of our own Catholic faith that we can reach out to our family members and to others in our society.

Faith never travels alone, it is always accompanied by hope and love. By focusing on strengthening our faith this Chinese New Year and the year ahead, we will also increase our hope in attaining heavenly glory, as well as sharing our love to those we most need it.
In support of the Novena Church's plans to build a new Novena Shrine Church and Pastoral Centre, the church continues to be blessed by the generosity of our Novena devotees and well-wishers.

We now have three generous donors who wish to remain anonymous but who have kindly offered to match all donations to the Novena Church Building Fund up to a total of $1 million. So for every $10 donation, the Novena Church is immediately blessed with $20.

On Chinese New Year Eve (Saturday 9 February 2013) the Novena Church will officially launch the DOUBLE BLESSING Donation drive.

We invite you to participate in this donation drive by placing your donations in specially designed ang pow packets. You can place either cash or a cheque (made payable to the Novena Church Building Fund) in the ang pow packets. (If you wish to make a credit card payment, please make the payment at the Church reception.)
I agree with Joseph Chng (Loud Music At Communion, CN Jan 27).

Upon receiving Holy Communion, music should be muted or silent for us to savour the presence of Jesus received in Holy Communion.

In fact, all should stay silent to appreciate what we receive. In the concluding rite it is recommended that sacred silence may be observed for a while.

- Roland Tan Khoon Choon, Singapore
Did it ever occur to you that if churches ever improved their acoustics, they would make millions of their parishioners better Christians?

Isn’t it true that as part of the congregation, many a time, you would find yourself craning your neck and straining your ears to figure out what exactly Monsignor was saying in the pulpit?

It all boils down to the echo effect one gets in a hall that has a high ceiling. That echo effect has the tendency to suffocate and distort the clarity of speech.

It happens everywhere, in all churches with high ceilings. And it’s been going on for centuries, although I wonder if it has ever been identified publicly and sound engineers sought to rectify the problem – if at all that’s possible.

In Singapore, the strongest effects can be found at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Good Shepherd Cathedral and St Joseph’s Church (Victoria St) – because their ceilings are the highest. And grandest.