JUNE 26, 2016, Vol 66, No 13

Will the Catholic family still be relevant tomorrow?

For the Tan and Long families, praying together not only allows them to lift their petitions to God, but also helps them to learn more about each other. Through prayer, they learn about the issues that worry them and the things that they are thankful for. Amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, prayer also allows these two families some quiet time to reflect and connect.

“As parents, we have a responsibility to show our children the importance of family prayer. When we pray, we put aside anger and frustration and ask for forgiveness. This enables us to grow spiritually together with God as a family,” said Mrs Sylvia Aloysius-Tan, whose three sons are altar servers at St Vincent de Paul Church.

The Kim family, on the other hand, finds it a challenge to set aside time to practise the Catholic faith after the arrival of their second child. Apart from reading Noah’s Ark and other bible stories to their two-year old, Alex and his wife do not lead an ‘active Catholic faith life’ and sometimes miss attending the Mass, too.

“This seems to be getting more common among Catholic families these days, where work and domestic issues imperceptibly take precedence over the practice of the faith,” observed Mrs Annabella Long, a mother of two school-going boys. “We are also often confronted by the distractions of social media and other supposedly important preoccupations,” added the 46-year-old parishioner of Christ the King Church.
Jared Ng looks at the various initiatives of the Church of St Stephen in this ongoing parish series

Left: The church, located in MacPherson, was blessed and dedicated in 2007 by Archbishop Nicholas Chia. Top right: A health screening was conducted on June 4 in the Church of St Stephen by nurses from Mount Alvernia hospital. Bottom right: Polytechnic and university students, together with a few youths of the parish, come to the church once a week to tutor less privileged children.Left: The church, located in MacPherson, was blessed and dedicated in 2007 by Archbishop Nicholas Chia. Top right: A health screening was conducted on June 4 in the Church of St Stephen by nurses from Mount Alvernia hospital. Bottom right: Polytechnic and university students, together with a few youths of the parish, come to the church once a week to tutor less privileged children.

Initially starting out as a modest wooden church, the Church of St Stephen now caters to about 1,500 parishioners. Most are elderly people living in the mature estates in the MacPherson area.

Some of the special characteristics of the church are its hosting of a free tuition service, its senior group ministry and its Block Rosary Group.

Macpherson Free Tuition Project

The church hosts a free tuition service for less privileged children living in the vicinity on Saturdays from 10 am to 11.30 am.The programme started in 2011 after a group of non-Catholic secondary and tertiary students approached the church for help in hosting this programme.
Gemma Foo ruptured her spleen while training. She tells Jared Ng how her faith helped her during that time.

“Take away this feeling of lousiness,” Gemma Foo prayed to God as she lay in hospital with a ruptured spleen.

The para-equestrian, a parishioner of the Church of the Holy Spirit, fell off her horse during a training session in Cologne, Germany, on Easter Sunday.

Her horse, Cassis, was startled by a loud noise and ran, causing the 20-year-old to fall off.

Her one fear as she lay in great pain in the hospital in Cologne, was that she would not be able to compete in the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in September. This was a concern that she brought to God in prayer, she told CatholicNews in Singapore after her operation in Germany.

“There was a small chapel in the hospital where patients could go and pray,” she recalled, adding that she visited the chapel a few times during her 10-day stay in the hospital.
Source: CARITAS SINGAPORESource: CARITAS SINGAPORECharities Week 2016 closed on May 6 with a total collection of more than $5.8 million, matching 2015’s collection (see chart). 

Despite an increasingly challenging economic outlook and numerous fundraising events, Catholics, their families and friends have banded together, to generously support this annual campaign, said Caritas Singapore.

Charities Week is the annual archdiocesan fundraising campaign organised during Lent every year by Caritas Singapore, the social and community arm
of the Catholic Church in Singapore.

Caritas leads and coordinates 24 Catholic charities, and serves more than 50,000 people, regardless of race, religion or nationality.

“We are elated by the show of support,” said Mr Tan Cheng Han, Caritas Singapore’s fundraising chairman. “Thank you very much to all donors. We expected that it would be difficult to match the 2015 collection, much less look forward to any growth. With God’s grace, we did well. I am very happy with the amount raised.”

Caritas executive director Bernadette Lau said: “The funds collected will enable us to continue to live out the social mission of the Church, serving all in need.”

Donations collected during the Charities Week campaign will be used to fund the operations of Caritas Singapore, Agape Village, member organisations, programmes and services.

Most recently, these include support for adults with intellectual and development disabilities by Mamre Oaks, art therapy to help with the mental and emotional well-being of individuals by Clarity Singapore, and other community programmes such as computer literacy for seniors.