NOVEMBER 15, 2015, Vol 65, No 23

The Office for the New Evangelisation was set up to offer help

Evangelisation is a word that evokes fear in many Catholics. The thought of going out to share the faith is a daunting task for many.

To some, faith is a personal thing with it being up to the individual to live the faith the way one sees fit. To others, one is born into the faith – “my grandfather was a Catholic and my mother is a Catholic, I am a Catholic and my son will be a Catholic” – and this linear progression fulfils one’s part in spreading the faith.

Many think that they are simply not equipped to evangelise. Yet many others think that it is the work of the clergy or Religious or a group who are tasked to perform this function of the Church.

Despite this dismal situation, there are bright sparks every now and then created by those filled with the desire for Jesus and fuelled by the Holy Spirit venturing out to proclaim the Good News.

The truth is that everyone has the obligation to evangelise. It is not an option. To be a disciple of Jesus Christ is to be an evangeliser. Catholics often give the excuse that they are not ready to evangelise. If this is indeed so, should one not begin to prepare oneself to proclaim the Good News sooner or later?
 Br John Joseph McNally’s restored mosaic mural of The Last Supper. Br John Joseph McNally’s restored mosaic mural of The Last Supper.

IPOH, MALAYSIA – For decades, parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Ipoh had not realised they were custodians of one of Br Joseph McNally’s masterpieces: a mosaic mural of The Last Supper.

La Salle Br McNally, who passed away on Aug 27, 2002, was the founder of LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore, and a renowned Irish artist.

The mural of the Last Supper was designed to give emphasis to the altar and to hide the exit to the sacristy in the church.

It consisted of various types of stone and glass tesserae, which were made in Italy under Br McNally’s supervision and involvement.

In 1960, accompanied by Br Vincent Joseph Corkery, the sub-director of St Michael’s Institution (SMI) in Ipoh, Br McNally visited the church located at Jalan Silibin. SMI also holds some of Br McNally’s other works.

The mosaic mural was consecrated on Feb 13, 1963, by Bishop Francis Chan and witnessed by more than 1,000 parishioners.

In 2010, during the tenure of  Frs Bernard Paul and Stanley Antoni, it was found that many of the mosaic pieces had fallen off and that cracks had appeared.
Participants spending quiet prayer time at Kingsmead Centre during the God’s Gift of Years workshop.Participants spending quiet prayer time at Kingsmead Centre during the God’s Gift of Years workshop.
How do people past their 50s see their personal and societal role?

This was a question explored by 11 participants at a workshop-cum-day of recollection on Oct 24.

Titled God’s Gift of Years, the first workshop of its kind at the Jesuit-run Kingsmead Centre saw participants spending quiet time to discover their unique gifts and wisdom.

They also engaged in journaling to recall their own life stories.

Facilitators Diana Tan and Diana Koh reminded participants that as they age, they should pay attention to how they treat their bodies, and that they should eat healthily and maintain a regular exercise regime.

Mentally, the willingness to learn new things and engage with people and the community would keep them in good mental health, they shared. Spiritually, one also needs to reconnect with God and be grateful for all His gifts, they added.
Mr Augustine Pereira, 85, (in wheelchair) and Prof James Newton Boss, 67, received the Benemerenti medal from apostolic nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli (centre). Also present at the event were St Joseph’s Church parish priest Fr Ignatius Yeo and Fr Brian Wysocki, a Marist priest from New Zealand. Photo: DOMINIC WONGMr Augustine Pereira, 85, (in wheelchair) and Prof James Newton Boss, 67, received the Benemerenti medal from apostolic nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli (centre). Also present at the event were St Joseph’s Church parish priest Fr Ignatius Yeo and Fr Brian Wysocki, a Marist priest from New Zealand. Photo: DOMINIC WONG

Two pioneer parishioners of St Joseph’s Church (Victoria Street) have been awarded the papal Benemerenti medal for their devoted service to the parish community.

Mr Augustine Pereira, 85, and Prof James Newton Boss, 67, were presented with the award by apostolic nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli at a Mass on Oct 31.

The papal honour was instituted by Pope Gregory XVI in 1832 and is conferred on those who have exhibited long and exceptional service to the Church. The word benemerenti translates to “a well deserving person”.

Mr Pereira joined the parish’s children’s choir at the age of seven and continued on to the adult choir. He was also an altar server, especially during the painful Japanese Occupation, when he assisted in many funerals.

He was also a long-standing Vincentian, and served as a warden and informal “car-park attendant” from the 1950s, until ill health in 2003 prevented him from doing so.
Children posing for a photo at the Tondo dumpsite. Photo: SJI INTERNATIONALChildren posing for a photo at the Tondo dumpsite. Photo: SJI INTERNATIONAL
St Joseph’s Institution (SJI) International sent a team of nine students and four teachers on a trip to Manila to work with the Philippines Community Fund (PCF) as part of the school’s Service Learning initiatives.

The trip, which took place from Oct 18-23, helped the team to learn about a community that lives in very difficult conditions, but nevertheless works hard and leads fruitful lives.

The Tondo community lives, works and plays on the Tondo dumpsite, which is the main refuse dump for Manila. Families there rely on collecting plastic for recycling companies, but many also run businesses within the community such as mamak shops that sell commodities to the other families.

Despite their situation, a sense of community is evident.

During the visit, the SJI International team worked at the Philippines Community Fund School, helping out with a variety of tasks such as giving out 300 pairs of wellington boots, which were donated by SJI International Elementary school parents, to primary school children.