JANUARY 10, 2016, Vol 66, No 01



IN MANY of his letters, St John Paul II underscored the importance of communion in the mission of the Church. In his encyclical to the Church in Asia, he wrote, “communion and mission are inseparably connected. They interpenetrate and mutually imply each other, so that ‘communion represents both the source and fruit of mission: communion gives rise to mission and mission is accomplished in communion.’” (Church in Asia, 24). Again in his apostolic letter at the beginning of the new millennium, he reiterated, “It is in building this communion of love that the Church appears as ‘sacrament’, as the ‘sign and instrument of intimate union with God and of the unity of the human race’. The Lord’s words on this point are too precise for us to diminish their import.” (NMI 42)

Indeed, the goal of evangelisation is communion. The Church is called to be a scrament of love and unity in the world. “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35). St John also wrote, “…we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 Jn 1:3) Rightly so, if our mission is to bring all into communion with each other in love and unity through our fellowship with the Holy Trinity, then we must seek every means to preserve, protect and foster communion in our workplace, Church ministries, organisations, parishes and archdiocesan bodies, whether they are full-time workers, volunteers or helpers.
Q: What does “in the fullness of time” mean? What does this mean for us today as Christian disciples? Susan Clare Lee

The Holy Mother & Child by Stephen B WhatleyThe Holy Mother & Child by Stephen B WhatleyA: In Gal. 4:4, St Paul says that “in the fullness of time, God sent forth his Son”. The use of this phrase points to the fact that the plan of God was not something arbitrary or unplanned, but that there was in the unfolding of time and circumstances, a specific time for the culmination of God’s love to be manifest to humankind and for salvation to be fulfilled in Christ.

This phrase also takes into consideration the incredibly convoluted way through which Christ, the apogee of salvation, finally came to be.

The genealogy that is featured in Matthew’s gospel speaks vividly about just how mired in sin and brokenness the human race was, and how despite this messy and even embarrassingly scandalous family history, God could and did enter into our existence and purified it from within.

The nativity of Jesus is that fullness of time that Paul referred to. This being the case, we are all living in the “fullness of time” as well.
Fr Ignatius Yeo speaking to senior altar servers from City District churches during their day of recollection on Dec 19, 2015.Fr Ignatius Yeo speaking to senior altar servers from City District churches during their day of recollection on Dec 19, 2015.
Senior altar servers from City District churches learnt more about the liturgical signs and symbols of the Mass during a recent day of recollection.

Forty-two of them gathered for the event, organised by the Archdiocesan Liturgy Commission, at St Joseph’s Church, Victoria St, on Dec 19, 2015.

Fr Ignatius Yeo, commission chairman and rector of the church, highlighted the distinction between a sign and a symbol, commonly perceived to be synonymous in the world today. He explained the significance of the various signs and symbols of the Church, which include liturgical vessels, vestures and church architecture.

To ensure that the participants have internalised the knowledge, he asked them to put together a presentation to explain the meanings of the various liturgical signs and symbols to their junior members.
The service team interceding for the retreat in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Photos: MATTHEW NG and SHAWN WEEThe service team interceding for the retreat in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Photos: MATTHEW NG and SHAWN WEE

They could have been out enjoying the Christmas lights and festivities. Instead, 200 young people chose to spend four days in the Combined University Retreat (CUR), to prepare their hearts to receive Christ.

The retreat, organised by the Office for Young People (OYP), aimed to help university students have a deep encounter with the Lord, to journey with one another, and foster an understanding of a Catholic Church which transcends institutional allegiances.

It was held at the Office for Young People at Lorong Low Koon from Dec 18-21.

This is the second time that the CUR has been organised. It saw an increase in numbers and also the return of previous participants to serve as facilitators and in logistics, hospitality, music and intercession.

They served alongside young working adults who are also part of the OYP communities.
Rabbi Mordechai Abergel explaining to participants the significance of the different symbols found in the Maghain Aboth Synagogue.Rabbi Mordechai Abergel explaining to participants the significance of the different symbols found in the Maghain Aboth Synagogue.

What is a typical prayer or worship session like for Jews? What are some of the common traditions shared by Christians and Jews?

These were some of the questions posed to Chief Rabbi Mordechai Abergel during a visit by Catholics to the Maghain Aboth Synagogue at Waterloo Street on Dec 20.

Fifty-four participants visited the synagogue. The visit was to help Catholics better appreciate interreligious dialogue as well as promote mutual respect and friendship with people of other faiths.

This was the third visit to the synagogue organised by the Archdiocesan Catholic Council for Interreligious Dialogue (ACCIRD). Previous visits took place in 2013 and March 2015.