MARCH 9, 2014, Vol 64, No 05

Fr Edmund Chong pays tribute to the late Thomas Lui

When I count my blessings, I count it twice because of you! [Source: Unknown]

I count my God-given blessings when my “love affairs” with pilgrimages were introduced early into my life.

It was Faith Tours’ pilgrimages that caught my interest most during my priestly infancy. I must register my thanks to Thomas Lui, the late founder of Faith Tours, who ignited both my curiosity and interest so that these bear fruit in my priestly life and ministry.

Thomas was called home to the Lord on Feb 1. Through him who had formed Faith Tours Agency upon the inspiration God had given him, I cannot let this episode come to pass without giving credit where it is due.

Thanks to him, I am better off as I’ve become the recipient of heavenly good through pilgrimages. In the words of St John the Baptist, “A man can lay claim only to what is given him from Heaven” (John 3:27), so it was with Thomas who was instrumental in promoting Christian pilgrimages in the early 1980s.

My interest in going on and leading group pilgrimages is the result of a deeper appreciation of the Christian faith and history. All of these I discover as I make inroads into the richness of our Catholic traditions and heritage in the lands chosen and blessed by God for a richer encounter with Jesus, Mary and the saints.
In responding to my article, Did Humans Evolve From Monkeys? (CN, Feb 9), Mr Gerard Goh and Ms Estella Young (CN, Feb 23) were keen to affirm that “religion does not clash with science” or that “faith and reason can go hand in hand”.

I readily agree with this position. I agree that academic disciplines of natural science, philosophy and theology can attain common conclusions when they all strive to seek truth.

As Pope Leo XIII says, “truth cannot contradict truth” (encyclical Providentissimus Deus). My initial article is certainly not to wage a battle between religion and science, but to refute the layman’s expression that “human beings evolved from monkeys”.

In fact all of us agree that whether we agree with the theory of evolution or not, the theory itself does not answer the ultimate query about the origin of existence, the great philosophical question: where does everything come from? And specifically how does man come about? I believe we agree this is of utmost importance.

Participants at the creativity workshop by theatre practitioner and mime artist Krysztof Najdowski (back row, fourth from left), held at the Catholic Archdiocesan Youth Centre on Feb 23.Participants at the creativity workshop by theatre practitioner and mime artist Krysztof Najdowski (back row, fourth from left), held at the Catholic Archdiocesan Youth Centre on Feb 23.
How can one share Jesus with others? One creative method is through mime and drama!

This was what a group of mostly young people learnt when they gathered at the Catholic Archdiocesan Youth Centre on Feb 23.

The participants, aged 17 to late 30s, attended a creativity workshop led by theatre practitioner and mime artist Krysztof Najdowski.

The founder of Summer School of Theatrical Arts in Poland in 1998, Najdowski has had his theatrical performances and programmes presented in 25 countries in Europe, US and Asia.

Church of Divine Mercy’s Filipino community held a bazaar to raise funds after Typhoon Haiyan. CHARIS has received more than $1 million to grant aid to eight Catholic organisations who are carrying out reconstruction work in the aftermath of the typhoon.Church of Divine Mercy’s Filipino community held a bazaar to raise funds after Typhoon Haiyan. CHARIS has received more than $1 million to grant aid to eight Catholic organisations who are carrying out reconstruction work in the aftermath of the typhoon.
Through its Humanitarian Aid Fund, CHARIS has received and committed more than $1 million in grant aid to eight Catholic organisations for reconstruction work in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.

The largest amount of $400,000 (including an earlier grant of $200,000) went to Caritas Philippines to build 230 new houses in Kalibo, Aklan Province.

Fr Edwin Gariguez, Secretary General of Caritas Philippines said, “The scale of the disaster is enormous. The construction costs of these transitional houses we plan to build will be more than two million US dollars alone. We are grateful for the substantial sums coming from the Singapore Catholic community.
Fr Peter Zhang speaks to 70 working Catholics at a talk to bridge work and family lives through  Christ, held at the Church of the Holy Cross on Feb 22.Fr Peter Zhang speaks to 70 working Catholics at a talk to bridge work and family lives through Christ, held at the Church of the Holy Cross on Feb 22.
Fr Peter Zhang told 70 working Catholics to balance work and family life through the Catholic faith.  

The talk was held at the Church of the Holy Cross on Feb 22. It was part of a series of five talks called Bridging Your Life with Christ, and this third instalment was focused on work and family.

Fr Zhang screened a movie “Love is a Choice” based on the life of a contemporary lay-saint, St Gianna Berella Molla, to drive home the importance of the faith element in daily work and family life, and of striking a balance between the two.

In order to find that balance, Fr Zhang suggested to look at one’s family and household responsibilities and organise one’s work in order to better shoulder one’s responsibilities, in addition to one’s contribution to the community and the Church.