NOVEMBER 23, 2008, Vol 58, No 24

SINGAPORE – The Catholic Church condemns direct euthanasia, whether voluntary or involuntary, said Archbishop Nicholas Chia in response to recent Singapore media coverage on euthanasia.

The archbishop’s statement was made in the form of a pastoral letter released on All Saints Day and addressed to Catholics in Singapore. It was read at Masses during the weekend of Nov 1-2.

In his letter, the archbishop quoted several Catholic documents to highlight Church teaching on this subject. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of the handicapped, sick or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable."

Archbishop Chia suggested that Catholics refer to the "Euthanasia" article written by Father James Yeo in the Nov 9 issue of The CatholicNews.

The archbishop’s letter was reported in local newspapers the following Monday.

SINGAPORE – The Archdiocesan Liturgical Music Committee is presenting the inaugural concert of the Archdiocesan Combined Youth Choir at the Victoria Concert Hall on Friday Dec 19 at 8.00pm.

The choir is a platform for youth from all parts of the archdiocese to come together and discover their faith through the rich musical heritage of the Catholic Church. The combined choir at present comprises four youth choirs – St. Francis Xavier Youth Choir (Church of St. Francis Xavier), St. Thomas Aquinas Choir (Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary), Christus Laudatur Voce Choir (Church of the Risen Christ), and Genesis II Choir (Church of the Holy Family).

Each choir will be presenting some of its favourite pieces ranging from soulful gospel to inspiring original compositions.

The highlight of the concert is the combined choir bringing you that festive cheer with Christmas classics like Joy to the World and O Come All Ye Faithful, accompanied on the concert hall’s grand organ.

So treat your family to this pre-Christmas performance and join Archbishop Nicholas Chia in supporting these young people in their endeavour to share Christ through the gift of song.

Tickets will be available at Church of St. Francis Xavier, Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Church of the Risen Christ, Church of the Holy Family, from the choirs involved, on Sundays from Nov 30 to Dec 14. SMS 9738 6572 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your contact details.

SINGAPORE – This year’s Advent booklet is titled "Being a People of Hope" and it examines how people in modern, urban Singapore envision hope.

Using the readings from the weekly liturgy of Advent, the writers offer a vision of Christian hope. Connections are also made to Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical "Spe salvi", (Saved by Hope).

The Advent booklet sessions are designed to maximise the benefit of small group reflection.

"Being a People of Hope" is published by Singapore Pastoral Institute and Caritas Singapore Community Council.

The booklet is available in English, Mandarin, and Tamil. Complimentary copies will be distributed at parishes on the weekend of Nov 29-30. n

THE WORLD AIDS Day Mass will be celebrated on Nov 29, 6.00pm at Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. The service includes a music interlude and a poetry recital.

The theme of the Mass is "Returning to Hope" which exhorts and encourages all to focus on the silver lining in
every setback, and on the good that God is able to draw out of seemingly hopeless situations. It is also a reminder to all that we are to be bearers of that hope to the hopeless.

There will also be an exhibition at the foyer-porch of the cathedral to highlight the plight of PWAs (People living With AIDS) and the work of CARE’s Shelter, and an enquiry counter for those who wish to volunteer.

 

SINGAPORE – The Lourdes Experience will be celebrated for the second time at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Saturday Dec 6. The celebration to mark the 150th anniversary of the appearance of Our Lady to St. Bernadette, in Lourdes, is being held on the Saturday nearest to the Dec 8 feastday of the Immaculate Conception.

At Lourdes, Our Lady said "I am the Immaculate Conception" to St. Bernadette’s question, "Who are you?"

Pope Benedict XVI made a pilgrimage to Lourdes in mid September where he preached the value of "humble and intense prayer" like the rosary. He told listeners that devotion to Mary was not a form of "pious infantilism" but an expression of spiritual maturity.

When he took a drink from the Lourdes spring that many pilgrims believe to be the font of miraculous cures, he was demonstrating that the Christian lives by simple signs and symbols as well as by theological ideas. At his Mass with thousands of sick people, he thanked Catholics at Lourdes and all over the world who volunteer their time and effort to help the infirm.

The Lourdes Experience is being held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium for the second time – the first was in 2004 – for those who are unable to go to Lourdes. The Singapore Order of Malta, who are the organisers, expect even more participants this year.

Catholics from various parishes, including members of St. John’s Brigade, Legion of Mary, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Nurses Guild, Catholic Medical Guild are providing support. The Order receives spiritual guidance from Archbishop Nicholas Chia, its chaplain.

 

The celebrations

 

Periods of silence and prayer, celebration and adoration of the Eucharist, a procession and blessing of the sick and disabled will produce an atmosphere of deep reverence for Jesus and Mary at the Lourdes Experience.

A iridescent-blue figurine of Our Lady standing on a rock, with a blue ribbon and yellow roses on her feet will be installed at the stadium.

The stadium doors will open at 2.00pm and the day’s events will begin with an audio-visual presentation of this year’s Lourdes Jubilee celebrations. This will be followed by Stations of the Cross, another feature of a Lourdes pilgrimage.

Participating parishes and groups will join in the entrance procession for the Mass to be celebrated by Archbishop Nicholas Chia. Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio and about 40 priests from the archdiocese will concelebrate. Ten priests will sprinkle holy water before Mass begins

After Mass, there will be a procession and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament Benediction by
Father Gino Henriques will follow. The finale will be a torchlight procession during which the rosary will be prayed in English, Mandarin, Tamil, Teochew, Tagalog, Cantonese, Myalanese, Bahasa Indonesia and Korean.

Bottles of Lourdes water have been given to parishes, charity homes, the Assisi Hospice; and packages containing a rosary have been given to parishes for those who are too sick to go to the stadium.

Petitions can be made at three entry points, but love offering should be kept in a separate envelope and placed in the love offering box. All collections will be used for the Missions of Mercy by the Singapore Order of Malta.

Tickets to the Lourdes Experience are free and can be obtained from parishes. - By Joyce Gan