NOVEMBER 16, 2014, Vol 64, No 23

Priests and laypeople talk about the distractions of ringing phones and people who text at Mass

ALBANY, New York, USA – Entire families navigate their smartphones while sharing meals at restaurants. Students text in class. Parents take phone calls at their children’s sporting events and plays.

It’s no surprise that cellphones affect even the church.

It has become common for parishes to place blurbs in their bulletins about silencing cellphones and for lectors to make announcements about it before liturgies, reminding parishioners they’re in a place of worship.

In some places, Massgoers heed the notices – with a few exceptions for people who work in emergency fields or don’t understand how to silence their phones. At other parishes, ringtones, texting or even taking calls during liturgies can distract the presider and the people in the pews.

Small group discussions among participants were held after every session during the weekend stay-in retreat in Johor.Small group discussions among participants were held after every session during the weekend stay-in retreat in Johor.During an Oct 17-19 stay-in retreat in Plentong, Johor, Neighbourhood Christian Communities (NCCs) from Blessed Sacrament Church learned the importance of forgiveness and ways for them to move towards mission work.

Upon arrival by coach, retreat master and guardian of St Pio’s Friary and spirituality centre in Ulu Tiram, Johor, Fr Valentine Gompok, greeted the retreatants and their spiritual director, Fr Thomas Sukotriraharjo.

As part of the Building an Evangelical and Missionary Neighbourhood Christian Community retreat at Majodi Centre, the 73 participants attended three sessions by Fr Valentine.

The first was about the importance of forgiveness as a foundation to build relationships in communities. Fr Valentine said that people are “hard-wired” to retaliate when they have been hurt by others as their pride and self-esteem have been injured.

Carmelite Fr JunJun Agruda speaking during his homily. On the right are a relic and statue of St Teresa of Avila. Photo: Daniel ThamCarmelite Fr JunJun Agruda speaking during his homily. On the right are a relic and statue of St Teresa of Avila. Photo: Daniel Tham
SINGAPORE – To commemorate the 500th year of the birth of St Teresa of Avila, the Carmelite Friars and Sisters organised a series of Novena Masses at the Church of Sts Peter and Paul from Oct 5-13, to prepare for the official celebration vigil of the feast day of the saint on Oct 14.

The theme for the Masses was I Was Born For You. Carmelite Fr JunJun Agruda, a specialist on Teresian spirituality from the Philippines, was the main celebrant and homilist. During each Mass, participants prayed the daily Novena prayer and there was also veneration of St Teresa’s relics.

Fr JunJun shared that St Teresa, a Doctor of the Church, was a great spiritual guide to knowing God. Her writings, especially her books, The Interior Castle and The Way of Perfection, the priest said, act as a map in one’s journey towards Christ. Fr JunJun also emphasised that for St Teresa, humility was the queen of all virtues.
Dr John Lee is wearing the chain of office. He is now president of the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations. Dr John Lee is wearing the chain of office. He is now president of the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations.
Dr John Lee is a father to eight children – six boys and two girls aged between 16 and 29, the chairman of mission group A Call to Share (ACTS), former master of the Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore, and is now the president of the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC).

The federation, which has existed since 1924, helps coordinate efforts of Catholic medical associations and spread Christian principles throughout the world.

Dr Lee, who became the second Asian president of FIAMC during the 24th FIAMC World Congress in Manila from Oct 1-4, told  CatholicNews that “it’s a great honour. At the same time, it was a little bit of a shock because I hadn’t expected it.

“I didn’t want to disappoint the Asian countries who elected me, who nominated me, so I accepted the nomination,” said the former FIAMC vice-president.
Corrinne May performed several of her Christian-themed songs for the audience during the dialogue event, at one point breaking down in tears, apparently moved by the song.

She started off by giving her own rendition of the Hail Mary, while accompanying herself on the piano.
 
Before singing the next song, Beautiful Life, she shared that the most important thing for couples to do is to spend time with each other.

Some sniffles were heard from the audience then.

After singing another song called Crooked Lines, she shared about the occasional anxiety one experiences “when you stand up for your faith”.