A look at what five parishes did during the Holy Year which ends on Nov 20
St Anthony parishioners make a pilgrimage on foot
Pilgrims took part in the St Anthony’s Bread Project – a charity food drive that collects and distributes food hampers for the needy in the community – as part of their preparation for the Holy Door pilgrimage to the Church of St Vincent de Paul.
A total of 87 parishioners from the Church of St Anthony, ages ranging from seven to 70, embarked on a pilgrimage to the Church of St Vincent de Paul on Oct 1.
After attending morning Mass in their parish, the pilgrims walked to Marsiling MRT station headed to Yio Chu Kang. Upon reaching, they commenced the 4.5-km journey by foot to the Church of St Vincent de Paul.
Pilgrims walked in contemplative silence, praying and reflecting on God’s mercy using a specially prepared prayer card which included scripture (Micah 6:8) and reflection questions. A number of elderly pilgrims who could not walk for long distances completed the pilgrimage by taking a bus instead.
Despite the discomfort due to the hot weather, many of the pilgrims were determined to complete the journey by foot and spoke of the compelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
One such pilgrim, Madam Rose Ong, had persisted with the pilgrimage despite suffering a back injury just before the pilgrimage. She shared, “I was tempted to give up several times when the pain became increasingly unbearable. Once I started praying the rosary, the pain miraculously subsided and I was filled with a deep sense of peace.”
Upon arrival, all pilgrims prayed before passing through the Holy Door and then each pilgrim spent personal time in deep prayer in the church hall.
The pilgrimage ended with the group praying the rosary.
To prepare themselves spiritually for the pilgrimage, each pilgrim went through a four-week process consisting of weekly scripture reflections focused on the theme of mercy, acts of mercy and receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least a week prior to the pilgrimage. Many of the pilgrims also actively participated in the St Anthony’s Bread Project, a charity food drive that collects and distributes food hampers for the needy in the community which was taking place during the same period.
A youth from the Church of St Anthony praying before entering the Holy Door at the Church of the Sacred Heart.
A youth ministry, Hidden Treasures, one of the ministries of the Youth of Saint Anthony (YSA), also organised a series of pilgrimages for their young people.
There were three pilgrimages over the course of two months, with different participants attending each pilgrimage.
The pilgrimages took participants to the Church of the Sacred Heart on Aug 20, the Church of the Holy Cross on Sept 11 and the Church of St Vincent de Paul on Oct 15.
Mr Joel Tan, 20, one of the organisers, shared that the focus of the pilgrimage was to “discover God’s blessings through people and the environment,
even in the midst of an urban setting.”
Ranging from ages 18 to 22, participants were first introduced to the concept of the Holy Doors of Mercy during a spiritual preparation session.
Members of the Vintage Care group from the Church of the Risen Christ praying at the Church of the Sacred Heart.
A seniors ministry from the Church of the Risen Christ organised a visit to the five Holy Door churches in Singapore for 85 members and their friends.
On Sept 14, the Vintage Care group started their pilgrimage at the Church of Divine Mercy before heading off to the Church of St Vincent De Paul. By noon, they were at the Church of the Risen Christ where they attended the lunchtime Mass.
The group then proceeded to Church of the Holy Cross where they sang hymns.
Their pilgrimage ended at Church of the Sacred Heart where they learnt about the parish’s history.
Besides visiting the Holy Doors, the Vintage Care group also did corporal works of mercy such as raising funds for the poor through Caritas Humanitarian Aid & Relief Initiatives, Singapore (CHARIS).
The group has about 80 members and they meet every Wednesday to have praise and worship, devotional prayers and attend Mass. Other activities include line dancing and table games.
By Richard Ng
Parishioners visit all five Holy Doors
Church of St Vincent de Paul parishioners visit Church of Divine Mercy.
The Church of St Vincent de Paul organised two pilgrimages to all the Holy Doors in the archdiocese.
The first one, held on July 6, saw 179 people travelling in four chartered buses. They visited the Holy Doors at the Church of the Risen Christ, Church of the Sacred Heart, Church of the Holy Cross, and Church of Divine Mercy before returning to the Holy Door at the Church of St Vincent de Paul. The aim was to enable pilgrims to experience God’s mercy through a journey.
The pilgrimage concluded with lunch and fellowship for all participants in the parish canteen.
Due to overwhelming response, a second pilgrimage was organised for about 75 parishioners on Nov 5. The two pilgrimages were organised by the Parish Pastoral Council with the help of neighbourhood and prayer ministry leaders.
On the third Thursday of the month, Holy Hour is observed in the Church of St Vincent de Paul. During the Year of Mercy, this monthly Holy Hour was preceded by a solemn procession through the Holy Door of the church.
The people attending Holy Hour would gather outside the church at 8pm to pray before singing a hymn and processing through the door. This initiative was organised by the prayer ministry leaders of the parish.
St Ignatius lectors start initiative for the poor
Members of the Lectors Ministry distributing food packets to low income residents living at Redhill. The project was an initiative during the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
The Lectors Ministry from the Church of St Ignatius started an initiative to help low income residents living in Redhill.
Titled The Lector Ministry Social Mission Project, the initiative was a collaboration with the Society of St Vincent de Paul conference of St Ignatius, and Willing Hearts, a charity founded in 2003 by a group of parishioners from the Church of St Michael.
The initiative commenced in June and involves the collection and distribution of lunch packets provided by Willing Hearts to low income resident once a month as rostered by the Society of St Vincent de Paul.
The meals are supplemented with fruits contributed by the lectors.
Residents who are sick or unable to come down to collect the food have their packets delivered to their homes.
During the distribution process, the lectors and members of Willing Hearts take the opportunity to engage with the residents.
Apart from the initiative, the parish also organised various pilgrimages.
Fourty-three members of the parish’s Charismatic Group embarked on a journey to the Holy Doors of the Churches of Divine Mercy, Sacred Heart and Holy Cross.
The pilgrimage, held on Oct 11, was organised by one of the members to contemplate and embrace the mercy of God during the jubilee year.
Participants were accompanied by Carmelite Br Emmanuel Noel Teo, the group’s spiritual director.
He shared with the group that the purpose of the pilgrimage was first and foremost to honour God, the physical journey undertaken also symbolised their spiritual journey towards a loving relationship with Christ.
Br Emmanuel shared how each person could obtain a plenary indulgence during the pilgrimage.
Other groups from St Ignatius also made pilgrimages during the Holy Year.
About 100 members of the Legion of Mary Bible Study group made a pilgrimage to the Church of the Sacred Heart on Feb 14.
On Feb 22, 18 pilgrims visited the Church of the Sacred Heart accompanied by Fr Leslie Raj.
From May 20-22, 30 parishioners, mostly members from the various Bible groups of the Church of St Ignatius, made a pilgrimage to churches in Malacca.
The pilgrimage took parishioners to the the Holy Door of St Peter’s Church, St Francis Xavier Church and the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
During the visit, parishioners learnt about the history of the parishes, attended Mass and had fellowship with volunteers from these churches.
Making a pilgrimage beyond Singapore
Parishioners from the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour walking to the Church of St Vincent De Paul on July 6.
Parishioners of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (OLPS) went on three pilgrimages to the various Holy Door churches in Singapore and Malaysia.
Legionaries of the East Curia, including those from OLPS, made the first pilgrimage to the Church of Divine Mercy on May 15.
There, parish priest Fr Johnson Fernandez shared what mercy truly means and how a person can receive a plenary indulgence.
Before entering the Holy Door, pilgrims recited Pope Francis’ Prayer for the Year of Mercy.
On July 6, 188 parishioners made a pilgrimage to the Churches of St Vincent De Paul, Risen Christ, and Divine Mercy.
It was organised by the OLPS Divine Mercy ministry.
Another pilgrimage organised by the Neighbourhood Christian Community of OLPS on Aug 20 took pilgrims to the
Holy Door churches in Johor, Malaysia.
The visit took pilgrims to the Churches of St Philip, The Immaculate Conception and Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.