JANUARY 24, 2016, Vol 66, No 02

Q: Can a Catholic partake of food offered:
1)    during the Qing Ming festival?
2)    during the seventh month Hungry Ghost festival?
 
A: Whenever a question of this nature is asked of us, it is always good to obtain guidance and direction from sacred scripture. 1 Cor 10:27-30 gives us sound Christian advice, but we should also take into consideration the other reasons why these gatherings take place in our culture.

St Paul cautions us against being a scandal to others in this matter, and for good reason. We Christians certainly do not believe that spirits or ghosts (hungry or sated) eat foods offered.  But what we do in the presence of our non-Christian friends and relatives can be a cause of scandal to them. In their Taoist or Chinese religious beliefs, such foods are indeed either consumed or “blessed” by these spirits, and their partaking of such foods provides for them a blessing in life or for good fortune. This is particularly true in the case of the foods offered at the Qing Ming festival.
Archbishop William Goh speaking at the launch of the Catechetical Year on Jan 3 as catechetical director Fr Erbin Fernandez (far left) and other participants look on. Archbishop William Goh speaking at the launch of the Catechetical Year on Jan 3 as catechetical director Fr Erbin Fernandez (far left) and other participants look on.

The Catechetical Office, which used to be part of the Office for the New Evangelisation, is now an independent office called Office for Catechesis (OFC).

Catechetical director Fr Erbin Fernandez announced this at the launch of the new Catechetical Year on Jan 3. He explained that the move was to allow the office to focus more on catechetical matters and better serve those involved in catechesis, which includes the RCIA and Liturgy of the Word (LOWC) ministries.

More than 300 catechists and RCIA and LOWC facilitators packed St Peter’s Auditorium at the Catholic Archdiocesan Education Centre for the annual event.

In his sharing, Fr Erbin noted that like the Magi who came looking for the Christ child, catechists have to keep looking for Christ, as they must experience the Good News first before they can share it with others.
Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Chia with Fr Aloysius Ong (left) and Fr Donatien Davaine who were dressed as Jedis at the movie screening of Star Wars: the Force Awakens. Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Chia with Fr Aloysius Ong (left) and Fr Donatien Davaine who were dressed as Jedis at the movie screening of Star Wars: the Force Awakens. Volunteers and well-wishers of the Church of the Transfiguration (COTT) took time off during the December holidays to catch the latest Star Wars saga – Star Wars: the Force Awakens, at the Grand Cathay on Dec 28.

About 50 children from various children’s organisations including Arc Children’s Centre, Care Community Services Society, Society of the Father and Son, and Boys’ Town were also invited to enjoy the evening’s festivities.

With a near full-house capacity of 594 seats taken up by the church, the exclusive movie screening was attended by special guests Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Chia and Dr Tan Cheng Bock, together with Fr Joachim Chang, parish priest of COTT, who presented gifts to the children to spread the joy of Christmas.

Fr Aloysius Ong and Fr Donatien Davaine further enlivened the evening by turning up in full Jedi costumes complete with flashing lightsabres to the delight of all present.
Moral theologian Fr David Garcia dissects the notion that God wants people to be rich

“Good actions are all that matters. The best good action is charity. The best kind of charity is giving money. The best thing to give money to is the Church. So hand us over £10,000 and we will see you through.” In this vein, C S Lewis (Mere Christianity, c. 12 Faith) described a corruption of the idea of “good works” and we may apply a similar concept to a corruption of the idea of the gospel these days, concretely the idea of the so-called “prosperity gospel”. 

One of the strengths of the prosperity-gospel preachers lies precisely in the simplicity and apparent coherence of the argument: “God blesses us with good things. Wealth is good, and so part of God’s blessings. God wants to bless you. Therefore God wants you rich. And thus He will multiply your riches when (here comes the interesting part) you give a substantial amount of wealth to the Church.”

Pepper this argument with convenient biblical quotes and you have a most profitable formula for success.
Fr Salim Joseph speaking to children from the Syro-Malabar rite. Seven of them will receive their first Holy Communion and Confirmation on Jan 30.Fr Salim Joseph speaking to children from the Syro-Malabar rite. Seven of them will receive their first Holy Communion and Confirmation on Jan 30.

Seven children from the Syro-Malabar rite will receive the Sacraments of first Holy Communion and Confirmation on Jan 30 at the Church of St Anthony at 3pm. The Mass will be celebrated by Franciscan Fr Salim Joseph, chaplain of the Archdiocesan Commission for Malayalam Apostolate.

The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is one of the 22 Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with Rome. It traces its origins back to India along with the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church.

The Syro-Malabar Catholic community has been in existence in Singapore since 2000.

There are currently about 450 families or 2,000 people in Singapore who belong to the Syro-Malabar rite, Fr Salim told CatholicNews. They are mainly migrants from Kerala, India.