DECEMBER 25, 2016, Vol 66, No 26

When Christmas will never be the same again

While most of us are caught up with the baking and the decorating, the shopping and the wrapping of presents, some families out there and in our midst are grappling with the stark and painful reality of having to face a Christmas (perhaps for the first time) without a dear one they have recently lost. The Thios are one such family, as Jeanette Alexander discovers.

Bernard and Ying with Jerome, taken during their 2012 trip to Korea.

Jerome (or ‘Slim’, as his family affectionately calls him) was the brave, young hero in their midst. As the baby of the family, he was hopelessly loved and doted on by his smitten family.

But he was so much more than just a cute and loveable kid. Albeit being plagued by Becker’s Muscular Dystrophy since his childhood, Jerome was astoundingly optimistic and never lost his spunk. He retained an angelic innocence most of us would have lost long before we were his age and he lived unselfishly for others. 

On Sep 12 this year, his father, Bernard, who is a doctor, found him unconscious in the toilet of their home and tried to resuscitate him - but without success. Jerome’s sudden death, just two months before his 18th birthday, plunged the family into an abyss of grief.
Children exercising their art skills at the Craft station during the West District Kids’ Bible CampPhotos: Jerome Ho

Five-year-old Luke Peh and his sister Serene listened to the story of St Dominic Savio and learnt that children like them were not too young to try to be saints.

Elsewhere, their sister Gracie put the finishing touch of marshmallows on her kebab while their eldest sister Faith helped to guide children during the Bible camp.

Luke, Serene and Gracie were among the 80 children at this year’s West District Kids’ Bible Camp.
Mr Jason Evert and his wife, Crystalina. Tickets are still available for his series of talks on chastity and sexuality on Jan 14.

There are more tickets available for the Jason Evert ‘LIVE’ in Singapore event on Jan 14. Having moved from the original venue at Catholic Junior College to the MAX Pavilion, the organisers told CatholicNews that they hope Catholics of all ages do not miss out on this opportunity to hear from one of the most sought-after speakers on chastity and God’s plan for sexuality.

During his one-day visit to Singapore, Mr Evert will be speaking at three different events targeted at various age groups:


Mr Evert, a much sought-after speaker – because of the way he is able to connect with young people on the topics of dating, love and sexuality – will be at the Church of Divine Mercy during the first half of Jan 14 for a session with parents.

Titled A Good Sex Talk for Parents, he will be covering useful topics on how parents can compete with questionable media influences that draw the young away from a pure life. He will offer techniques and information to assist parents in their task as primary faith formators of their children.

Future parents are also welcome to attend the event.
A Hai Sing Catholic School Robotics Club student sharing with visiting Franciscan Missionaries of Mary nuns the robotics programmes offered in the school and some of its real-world applications.

Global representatives of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM) had a close-up look at Hai Sing Catholic School’s robotics and other programmes when they visited the school recently.

The group of 17 nuns listened and observed intently as students shared their experiences of the school’s distinctive programmes in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) on Dec 1.

In one session, a student from the school’s Robotics Club spoke about the robotics programmes offered in the school and some of its real-world applications.

A look at how some parishes are celebrating Advent and Christmas this year

Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour parishioners picking out gift requests, in the form of star-shaped notepads. The parish started an initiative to reach out to the less privileged in their community. Photo: ISAAC LEO

Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour

When it comes to Christmas, the first thing that comes to mind for most people is receiving gifts. But what about the less privileged? What about those who do not have anyone to buy them presents?

In an effort to reach out to some of these people, the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (OLPS) started an initiative known as the Wish Upon A Star project.

The initiative, undertaken on a parish level for the first time, hopes to spread the love and the spirit of communion among everyone in the OLPS community.