MAY 03, 2015, Vol 65, No 09

Singaporean Sr Lucy Chia, 30 years as a Religious of the Good Shepherd Sister, seen here with her artwork in the background.Singaporean Sr Lucy Chia, 30 years as a Religious of the Good Shepherd Sister, seen here with her artwork in the background.
How did you know you were called to Religious life?
“Take your love out of the freezer and share your big heart with many others!” These words jolted me out of my daily routine. 

They were spoken in 1979 by my younger sister who was a young, temporary professed Religious of the Good Shepherd Sister. She told me stories of the mission of the congregation and I felt moved within me.

Can you share what was meaningful for you?
In these 30 years, I have worked in various ministries of the Good Shepherd, including being a missionary in the Czech Republic for eight years.

As a trained counsellor, my ministries were mostly in accompanying women, teenagers and children who were excluded or living in poverty or in abused situations – welcoming them in an environment with the possibility of a second chance in life, doing ordinary activities with them, being with them during difficult moments and seeing them grow to be more hopeful
and positive about their lives.
Celebrating life. Sr Carmen (centre, in brown veil) with the children, their families and Arc Children’s Centre staff and volunteers after a party. Celebrating life. Sr Carmen (centre, in brown veil) with the children, their families and Arc Children’s Centre staff and volunteers after a party. Sisters in brown veils and skirts are a common sight at Mount Alvernia Hospital and Assisi Hospice. They are often seen mingling with children and adult patients there. But in a secular children’s centre?

For Sr Carmen Francis, who belongs to the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood, it’s a calling.

She said, “After Arc started, I visited and felt, once again, called to work with children with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses.”

A non-profit organisation, Arc Children’s Centre supports kids with cancer and other life-threatening conditions, who are unable to attend mainstream schools due to their health issues. It provides a holistic programme to both the patients and their siblings.

Sr Carmen, who has been trained as a pastoral/clinical/grief counsellor, got involved there two years ago, having worked with the co-founders, Ms Geraldine Lee and Ms Ronita Paul, previously. She has also been trained to minister to special needs children and has worked with young adults for 10 years in Singapore.
Ministers who participated in the service from left: Rev Dr Lorna Khoo (Aldersgate Methodist Church); Fr Paul Staes, CICM; Rev Chan Mei Ming (Leng Kwang Baptist Church); Rev Jacob Johnson (Church of South India Congregation); Rev Martin Jungnickels (St John’s-St Margaret’s Anglican Church); Msgr Philip Heng (Vicar General of Ecumenical Relations) and Rev Fr Greger R Kollanoor (St Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Cathedral).Ministers who participated in the service from left: Rev Dr Lorna Khoo (Aldersgate Methodist Church); Fr Paul Staes, CICM; Rev Chan Mei Ming (Leng Kwang Baptist Church); Rev Jacob Johnson (Church of South India Congregation); Rev Martin Jungnickels (St John’s-St Margaret’s Anglican Church); Msgr Philip Heng (Vicar General of Ecumenical Relations) and Rev Fr Greger R Kollanoor (St Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Cathedral).
Members of various Christian Churches got together for an evening of prayer and songs on April 16.

The ecumenical Taize service, titled Of One Heart and Mind, drew about 280 participants.

It was held at the St Andrew’s Cathedral extension, called Cathedral New Sanctuary. The event at the Anglican cathedral was organised by the Archdiocesan Catholic Council for Ecumenical Dialogue with assistance from a core group of Taizé participants in Singapore.

Venerable Wong Tak Meng, Archdeacon of the Anglican Church, in his opening address thanked the Taizé core group who created a prayerful ambience with the use of icons and tea light candles.
Canossian Sisters performing a few numbers at St Joseph’s Church (Victoria St). Canossian Sisters performing a few numbers at St Joseph’s Church (Victoria St).
The Canossian Sisters, together with four Canossian schools held a choral festival to celebrate the 180th anniversary of St Magdalene of Canossa’s passing (foundress of the Canossians) and the 15th anniversary of the canonisation of Canossian St Josephine Bakhita.

Titled One Heart, One Voice, the choral performance was held at St Joseph’s Church (Victoria Street) on April 10, and was attended by about 800 people including apostolic nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, Canossian Sisters, benefactors of the Canossian family, parents of the students, pioneers of the schools and well-wishers.

The participating schools were Canossa Convent Primary School, St Anthony’s Canossian Primary and Secondary Schools, as well as Canossian School for the hearing impaired.
People attending Sunday morning Mass in the tent. People attending Sunday morning Mass in the tent.
Carmelite Fr John Chua, parish priest of the Church of Sts Peter and Paul, hopes that the restoration works on the 146-year-old church “will be completed by end of this year”.

The process is about “30 percent completed”, he added.

Fr Chua shared this information with CatholicNews on April 13, while giving a tour of the grounds.

Meanwhile, parishioners will continue to attend Masses in a tent in front of the church building. They have been doing so since late June last year, he said.

“It can be a bit inconvenient when it rains, but to shelter parishioners we draw the plastic curtains. But then it’ll be quite stuffy,” he added.