FEBRUARY 06, 2005, Vol 55, No 03

SINGAPORE – The Asian tsunami has been a major disaster. The Catholic Church in Singapore has responded by collecting donations in the weekend following the event, and conducting services in remembrance of the victims including Masses in all parishes on January 14

Archbishop Nicholas Chia has also appointed an Archdiocesan Crisis Coordination Team (ACCT) to further define and coordinate the response of the church in Singapore to the crisis.

“The overwhelming support of Catholics and Singaporeans to the crisis has been moving,” said Mgr Eugene Vaz, the spiritual director for ACCT.

FATHER ROBERTUS SARWISESO, an Indonesian priest from the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM), will begin his assignment at the Church of Christ the King in Ang Mo Kio February 18, 2005. He was sent to Singapore last November by his superiors to minister to the Indonesian-speaking migrant community but has been reassigned to a parish because of the greater need there. “I am happy to help out wherever help is needed,” he said.

The early years

Robertus was born into a poor Muslim family in Magelang, Java, in 1956, and educated in Catholic schools. The seed of his faith began as early as his kindergarten days.

“Although I grew up in a Muslim ambience, I found the joy and peace that a child needed at that Catholic school,” he says.

In 1967, at the age of 11, Robertus, who had been attending catechism classes, wanted to be baptized. However the reaction of his family discouraged him. They threatened and warned him, “If you become a Christian, you will be a pig in our eyes, you’ll be crucified!”