DECEMBER 27, 2015, Vol 65, No 26

In his address at the Prayer Vigil for the Festival of the Families in Philadelphia in September, Pope Francis said families should be the “living symbol of the loving plan of which our Heavenly Father dreamed.”

However, the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family (ACF) feels that this ideal is quite removed from the reality here. According to ACF, our pre-marital and underage sex rates have increased to levels of concern. Recent surveys suggest that about 60 percent of Catholics have had pre-marital sex by the time they leave tertiary institutions. Families are being torn apart by ever increasing rates of divorce, which have trebled since 1985.

It was precisely to address these and other issues which affect the family that ACF was formed in June 2014, at the behest of Archbishop William Goh.
Q: Recently, I was invited to a Protestant church service as it was in memorial of my late father who passed away. During the service, bread and wine were offered to those who were baptised. Question: Can baptised Catholics partake of these? - Eunice Smith

A: As Catholics living in a country that often see Catholics marrying Christians of other denominations, this is an important issue that needs to be answered for pastoral, ecumenical, liturgical and catechetical reasons.
Understanding them on all these different levels will help us to appreciate the richness of our faith as well as the ramifications of receiving the Eucharist each time we participate consciously in Holy Communion. It will also help us to understand the oft-misunderstood prohibition of receiving communion outside of a state of grace.

Do note, however, that an answer in a publication like the CatholicNews may have a different timbre as compared to engaging in a theological and spiritual conversation face to face with someone, principally because there are nuances involved.
CHIJ St Nicholas Girls Primary student Lynette Tay, who is hearing-impaired, scored a PSLE aggregate score of 257.CHIJ St Nicholas Girls Primary student Lynette Tay, who is hearing-impaired, scored a PSLE aggregate score of 257.
It was two days before the PSLE listening comprehension exam when CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ Primary student Lynette Tay had a scare.

Her cochlear implant, a surgically implanted electronic device to aid the hearing-impaired, had stopped working, leaving her mother with little option but to rush to the hospital for a replacement.

“We went to get a replacement the next day from the hospital but it also broke down,” said Mrs Tay, 46, Lynette’s mother.

Mrs Tay eventually got the cochlear implant to work, but 12-year-old Lynette shared that she felt “anxious” during the listening comprehension for fear of the implant turning off again.

Born deaf, Lynette had her first cochlear implant surgically fitted into her right ear when she was only about a year old.

Subsequently, she had to undergo intensive training that taught her how to pick up sounds and react to them accordingly.
Children dancing during the Bible camp, held from Nov 24-28.Children dancing during the Bible camp, held from Nov 24-28.

Over the course of five mornings from Nov 24-28, more than 100 children aged five to 12 from the West district parishes gathered at the Church of St Ignatius to get to know Christ better through fun and faith-filled activities.

The aim of the programme, titled Cathletics – Training to be Champions of Christ, was to familiarise children with the life of Christ with teachings on  the Commandments, the Beatitudes and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.
The children were grouped into five different teams and rotated around five stations that offered challenges based on the daily theme, virtue and scripture verse.

Whether it was stacking up s’mores at the snack station, stringing colourful beads at the craft station, striking a ball at the games station, sustaining their spirits at the faith station or dancing their hearts out at the music station, each child was inspired to become a champion for Christ in his or her own way.
CHARIS volunteers and Philippine villagers form a human chain to pass along bags of sand to build shelters for typhoon victims.  Photos: KENNY TAN and GABRIEL LEECHARIS volunteers and Philippine villagers form a human chain to pass along bags of sand to build shelters for typhoon victims. Photos: KENNY TAN and GABRIEL LEE
For seven days, 25 CHARIS volunteers worked alongside victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, shovelling sand and soil into sacks and helping to lay foundations for houses. The Singapore volunteers also built a water filtration system for villagers in Bogo City, Cebu, to help them have clean and safe drinking.

“It was a wonderful experience coming here and helping the people to improve their lives,” said Singapore volunteer Tania Roy.

“It was good to note that despite the language barrier, we are coming together as a community in solidarity to support one another.”

Ms Roy and her fellow volunteers were in Bogo City from Nov 29-Dec 5 working on a shelter-building site that CHARIS (Caritas Humanitarian Aid & Relief Initiatives, Singapore) supports with donations from the Singapore Catholic community.