MAY 01, 2016, Vol 66, No 09

Q: We have celebrated Good Friday and it brought up a question I had been wanting to ask for a long time. Why is Good Friday not a Holy Day of Obligation? Surely, the fulfilment of God’s work on redemption was an epic event in history worthy of the glory, as the Ascension was. - Anthony Oei, Singapore

A: The Church gives us a list of days and feasts which are liturgically the most important in terms of ranking, and this is found in the Table of Liturgical Days in the General Roman Calendar. It lists the Easter Triduum as the first and most important in terms of eminence.

In an article on the Spirituality of the Seasons, Franciscan priest and liturgist Fr Thomas Richstatter wrote on the need to understand the essential difference between a list of obligations and a list of what is most important.This appeared in an article printed in the St Anthony’s Messenger, April 1995.

In it, Fr Richstatter rightly explained that just because the days of the Triduum are not made obligatory does not mean that they are not important days. They are, and they are eminently important enough to rank at the top of the table of Liturgical Days. The solemnity of Easter, he says, has same kind of preeminence that Sundays have.
More Singapore couples are apparently turning to in vitro fertilisation and other assisted reproductive technologies to conceive. A look at the Church’s stand on these methods
 
The microinjection of sperm into an egg cell at an in vitro fertilisation (IVF) clinic in Leipzig, Germany. IVF procedures often involve the deliberate discarding of embryos that show little promise of surviving to term. These procedures are deemed unacceptable by the Church. CNS file photoThe microinjection of sperm into an egg cell at an in vitro fertilisation (IVF) clinic in Leipzig, Germany. IVF procedures often involve the deliberate discarding of embryos that show little promise of surviving to term. These procedures are deemed unacceptable by the Church. CNS file photo
Children are wonderful gifts. Each child is God’s intended result of His design: the product of the self-giving sexual union between man and woman, joined in love through marriage. This union fulfils the “I do” of the sacred marriage vows.

While many married couples anticipate the arrival of children, infertility seems to be a growing problem – more evidently in the developed world. Unsurprisingly, there has been a corresponding growth in the “reproductive technologies industry” to provide a solution to this problem.

On March 22, the Health section of The Straits Times featured an article entitled More Singapore Couples Getting Help To Conceive, which reported that more couples here are turning to in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technologies (ART) to conceive children.
Left: Participants at the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family (ACF) Family Partners’ Empowerment event. Right: Fr Terence Pereira speaking during the April 16 event.Left: Participants at the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family (ACF) Family Partners’ Empowerment event. Right: Fr Terence Pereira speaking during the April 16 event.

“We have all been called to be the alternative voice; the counter-culture. We need to bring God’s healing love to hurting marriages and families,” said Ms Cyrine Gregory, Marriage Encounter co-ordinator.

She was commenting on the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family (ACF) Family Partners’ Empowerment event at the Catholic Spirituality Centre on April 16.

The event, attend by 300 Family Partner leaders, was a follow up of an ACF networking session on March 19 that aimed to synergise outreach efforts to families.

During the April 16 event, Fr Terence Pereira, Episcopal Vicar of the New Evangelisation, shared the importance of an intimate encounter with Christ as the basis of the ministries’ mission to empower families. This encounter had to be nurtured through prayer, scripture and the Eucharist. Otherwise, they will not only lose the focus of their mission, but also find themselves lacking the motivation and strength to serve.
A resident of St Joseph’s Home admires a handcrafted gift from students of Magdalene’s Kindergarten during their recent visit. A resident of St Joseph’s Home admires a handcrafted gift from students of Magdalene’s Kindergarten during their recent visit.

Cheery, exuberant children stole the hearts of St Joseph’s Home residents recently as they sang, danced and gave away special handmade gifts to their appreciative audience.

The 70 kids from the Canossian-run Magdalene’s Kindergarten sang hymns and Easter songs, and danced to popular songs from the 1960s to the 1980s at the home located at Mandai Estate on April 19.

Their handcrafted gifts included an Easter cross, a tealight holder that proclaimed that Jesus had risen, and a card that said “Jesus Loves You”.

“I enjoyed making the gifts for the grandmas and grandpas,” said six-year-old Jing Yuan.

“I want to make them feel happy so that they know Jesus loves them,” said five-year-old Cedro.
Seminarians (left, in white cassocks), priests and laypeople attend the Mass for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations at the Church of St Ignatius. Photo: CHURCH OF ST IGNATIUSSeminarians (left, in white cassocks), priests and laypeople attend the Mass for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations at the Church of St Ignatius. Photo: CHURCH OF ST IGNATIUS

The priesthood is the “mother of all vocations” because the priesthood generates other vocations for the Church, said Archbishop William Goh.

“Without the priest, who is going to give you the bread of life? Without the priest, who is going to heal you in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and empower you?” he asked during a Mass to mark the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

Speaking to Religious, seminarians and laypeople gathered at the Church of St Ignatius on April 16, he urged Catholics to pray for more priestly and Religious vocations, “otherwise the future of the next generation will be compromised”.

Archbishop Goh expressed his worry at the dwindling number of priestly vocations in the archdiocese, adding that the next bishop “is going to suffer” because of a lack of priests to manage parishes.

“You need to pray for vocations for the sake of your children,” he said.