DECEMBER 28, 2014, Vol 64, No 26

Dear Readers,

Greetings of hope and peace!

As the year comes to a close with the celebration of Our Lord’s Birth, let me take this opportunity to wish all of you, on behalf of the staff of CatholicNews, a joy-filled Christmas and blessed New Year.

I would also like to take this opportunity to inform you that rising costs in the production of our paper has made increasing the price of CatholicNews inevitable.

For the past 24 years, since 1990, the paper has been priced at 50 cents. It will cost 70 cents starting from January.
Over the years, some laxity, and to some extent neglect, has crept into the Sacred Liturgy.Over the years, some laxity, and to some extent neglect, has crept into the Sacred Liturgy.
“The Celebration of  Mass, as the action of Christ and the People of God arrayed hierarchically, is the centre of the whole Christian life for the Church both universal and local, as well as for each of the faithful individually.

“In it is found the high point both of the action by which God sanctifies the world in Christ and of the worship that the human race offers to the Father, adoring him through Christ, the Son of God, in the Holy Spirit.” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal #16)

The Eucharist is the heart and the summit of the Church’s life (Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC 1407)

These statements serve to reinforce the importance and dignity of the Eucharistic celebration and rightly so.

I cannot recall the numerous times I’ve heard preachers and speakers extol with a humble pride on the beauty and simplicity of the Sacred Liturgy and how it is supposed to flow seamlessly within the Rites  uninterrupted.
Malaysian Friar Esmond Chua Order of Friars Minor www.franciscans.sgMalaysian Friar Esmond Chua Order of Friars Minor www.franciscans.sgWhen was the last time you had fun?
At the recent Conversion Experience Retreat, we did the “Hokey-Pokey”. It brought back fond childhood memories.

Prior to that, it was watching my nieces and nephews enjoy the sights and sounds of fireworks at the National Day Parade in August.

Name an occasion you felt embarrassed or humbled.
The solemn profession of my three brothers and I was a humbling experience. Family, relatives and friends from all around came in large numbers. It was humbling because I did not expect such a crowd, considering it was a weekday (Friday), which meant them taking leave. Their support, prayers and enthusiasm were a very visible sign of God’s love.

Name an occasion when you felt God was far away.
When I took God for granted. I found myself “doing” (ministry, prayer, studies, etc) more than “being” His child. It was then I began feeling as if I was “missing” God that I knew I needed to take a step back and remind myself to “be” rather than “do”.
Retreat master, Fr Laurence Freeman.Retreat master, Fr Laurence Freeman.
Participants at a two-day meditation retreat at Catholic Junior College, received tips on how to manage the “eight big problems in life” and to transcend them.

From Nov 29-30, about 600 participants attended talks by retreat master and The World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM) director, Benedictine Fr Laurence Freeman, watched videos and attended question-and-answer sessions.

At the start of retreat, called The Eight Big Problems of Life,  organised by WCCM Singapore, Fr Laurence asked participants, “What are you most seeking in life?

“The answer,” he said, “is that we are all seeking meaning, love, truth and beauty. All these are to be found within us...not further than a step away. They are to be found in a deeper dimension within us, in the space within our heart.”
Leaving the congregation after the Latin Mass on Dec 8 (from left): Archbishop William Goh, Fr Augustine Tay, Fr Anthony Ho and subdeacon Michael Feng.Leaving the congregation after the Latin Mass on Dec 8 (from left): Archbishop William Goh, Fr Augustine Tay, Fr Anthony Ho and subdeacon Michael Feng.
“The Immaculate Conception invites us to reflect on the dignity of the priesthood: the priesthood, just like the Immaculate Conception is purely the grace of God,” said Archbishop William Goh during a traditional Latin Mass on Dec 8.

He was speaking to Catholics who packed St Joseph Church (Bukit Timah) to celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

The Mass in the Extraordinary Form was also to celebrate the 40th and 46th priestly anniversaries of Frs Augustine Tay and Anthony Ho respectively.

Archbishop Goh reminded the crowd that God had given the Church the ordained ministry because after His departure on earth, Jesus “wants to continue to be present in our midst so we can continue to encounter Him, personally and sacramentally, through the priest who celebrates the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist”.