AUGUST 2007

I HAVE HEARD here and there about parishioners passing away, some of whom we used to see but did not know their names. I note that it is a good thing to have names of newborns or converts who are to be baptized written in the church's bulletin. It would also be appropriate if we have the names of our departed brothers and sisters in the bulletin too, preferably with their pictures. In this way we can become aware of their demise and also so that we can mourn and remember them in our prayers. I believe this is one way we can bridge the large gap between parishioners and contribute more to the Small Christian Community church.

Maria Alice Anthony

Singapore 160122

LATELY, READERS OF The Straits Times have expressed a sense of loss that some buildings of architectural merit in Singapore are to be demolished due to the current en-bloc fever. These post-independence buildings captured the architectural spirit of that period.

Some of our Catholic churches have already faced that plight. I am not referring to buildings of the colonial era. I think of the churches that were built and designed in the late-fifties to mid-sixties.

Some of these had been designed by Singaporean architects who tried to embody the spirit of the local church in their designs. I remember visiting the Churches of St. Ignatius and St. Bernadette, and exclaiming how I could see similar architectural and interior details in my own church, the Church of the Holy Spirit.

They are all gone now - the original Holy Spirit, St. Ignatius, St. Anthony, Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Mary of the Angels parishes. I don't begrudge their loss because they were simply unable to serve the needs of their growing communities. But as for those which remain, will the diocese and the architects who are commissioned to renovate them spare a thought about their architectural heritage and their connectedness to our local Catholic history?

The St. Bernadette parish will be undergoing renovation. I hope some of its original architecture will be retained.

Patricia Tan

Singapore 576513

My godson's son was born a week ago. Little Evan (photo) reminded me of the joy at the birth of my own son, some 27 years ago and prompted me to read again the little poem (author unknown) that I framed up with my son's baby photo. Let me share it with you.

- Cecilia Yeo, Church of the Holy Family

God took the softness of a cloud,

The sparkle from the dew,

Warmth and tenderness he took,

From summer skies of blue.

Gladness from a twinkling star,

Wonder from the night,

Brightness from the noonday sun,

From the moon, its glowing light:

Then he added his own love

And sent it to man's heart -

A brand new baby surely is

God's greatest work of art!

http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_Home.html

Among the works of art you can see on the website is Michelangelo's painting of the biblical story of the creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. When Pope John Paul II dedicated the restored Sistine Chapel he described it as "the sanctuary of the theology of the human body". It seems Michelangelo, he said, had been guided by the evocative words in Genesis 2:25, which enabled him, "in his own way", to see the human body naked without shame. CNS photo

So, we have come to the end of the Harry Potter series. Many of our youth grew up with harry, all seven books and five movies over 10 years, and were influenced in some way. Here's what two of them have to say.

"Harry Potter was one of my favourite childhood books, I collected every one of the series, he's like my childhood companion!

"I learnt that we should never use our talents to harm other people (like Harry never used his magic on others). There will be no more future books... it feels like a friend has just left me."

- Lai Si Ying Clara, Church of Christ the King

"I have all of the seven books in the series. I did learn many things, such as the value of family and friends. Harry lost his family, practically all of them. And those he has left don't exactly treat him like family.

"My parents are the most wonderful in the world, as restrictive and aggravating as they may be, they're always there, and I am truly grateful that they are. And while my brother and I fight all the time, I couldn't bear to think of what would come of me without him.

"Harry lost his parents, and when he had finally found a fatherly figure in his godfather, he died too. Wouldn't that be too much to bear for some of us? But I've learned to appreciate my family, a lot more than before.

"And as for my friends, aren't they the people who mould you into who you are? Life would be dreadfully dull without them to make you laugh, sometimes cry. Some of them know me better than I know myself! They understand how I'm feeling way before I can even figure it out. I know that I could be crying at, say, 4am at night, and all I have to do is call and they'll be ready to calm me down. And this is spoken from past experiences. I have amazing friends, and in each of them I see a part of what I wish I could be.

"Well, I guess that every series must come to an end. And besides, dragging it for too long could spoil the feeling. For example, I started reading Harry Potter when I was eight (it came out when I was five), and now I'm 15. People could say that they've grown out of the series, but fortunately I am not one of them."

- Sarah Lin Almodiel, Church of the Risen Christ