APRIL 19, 2015, Vol 65, No 08
In her book, Quiet Journeys – Finding Stillness in Chaos, Good Shepherd Sr Elizabeth Lim says that “the burdensome restlessness that plagues most of society” boils down to a lack of reflection.
Good Shepherd Oasis, established in 1998 by Sr Elizabeth, hopes to bring one to experience contemplation in silence and be rested in God.
People who go on retreat at Oasis, now located on Level 4 of Good Shepherd Place, Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, have told her, “I don’t know why I don’t know where I am [in life’s journey].” Sr Elizabeth says this is in the heart of various individuals.
“It is so important to help individuals understand the real meaning of who they are... what it is that they love, what God wills in their lives.” This is why, she adds, “retreats and days of quiet and reflection have to be considered a little bit more.”
On my first Lent in Kenya, I gave a religious education session to the girls at the boarding school on the three spiritual exercises recommended for Lent – almsgiving, prayer and fasting. I was going on and on about fasting and abstinence, when one of the girls told me that they were always fasting or abstaining from meat because often there wasn’t enough food. I felt embarrassed because I had assumed too much and had not considered their experience and perspective.
Name an occasion/incident when you felt God was far away.
In 2002 in Kenya, I was in a community in the country’s largest slum. Once, violence erupted because of the rivalry between tribal groups. The police stepped in and the violence escalated. Each day, crowds formed outside the gates of the house of the Missionaries of Charity or at ours, begging for food. A woman begged us to take in her young daughter as she was afraid that the girl would be violated by men taking advantage of the chaos. I felt helpless against the tide of so much misery and poverty. I felt God was far away.
The event has the theme, The Word is Alive (Hebrews 4:12) and is organised by the newly established Archdiocese Biblical Apostolate Office to promote a greater love for the Scripture.
“Over the years, there have been a greater hunger as well as a deeper appreciation for the Word of God among Catholics in Singapore,” said Verbum Dei Missionary Sr Sandra Seow, director of the Archdiocesan Biblical Apostolate.
“And so, we hope that through this symposium, Catholics in Singapore can celebrate the gift of God’s Word and ignite or reignite the passion of a life lived according to the Word of God.”
Five workshops, conducted by overseas and local presenters, will be held simultaneously at different locations at the venue, Catholic Junior College Performing Arts Centre.
CatholicNews begins a series on some of the archdiocesan offices to help readers understand their roles
When the Chancery first moved into its physical office at Waterloo Street in December 2013, it was starting on a completely blank slate.
For Ms Regina Lim, one of two Chancery staff during those days, the initial set-up was “a steep learning curve” as they had to understand numerous Human Resource (HR) matters and ministry-related documents in a cycle of standardising procedures and guidelines, fine-tuning and revision.
In a nutshell, the Chancery is an arm of the archbishop’s offices – collectively known as the Curia – that handles administrative functions such as HR, clergy matters and records management and archives. Far from being bureaucratic however, the Chancery is pastoral.
Fiancee’s Catholic family gave her a boost
“God had called me through my fiancee and his family,” said 27-year-old Wan Xiaotian from China.
“I watched his Catholic family embrace the Lord in their personal and family life,” she said.
Ms Wan shared that she followed her mother to Christian church services in China since young. But she “did not feel the calling to become a Christian”, she said.
In 2010, when she visited a Catholic church during a field trip, “that was the first moment in my life that I wanted to know more about the Catholic faith,” she said.
“I knew that I wanted to be God’s child since young but I was having a conflict with myself of whether to be a Protestant Christian just like my parents,” she said.