Participants of the 2nd Asian Deaf Catholic Conference in the Philippines.
Singapore will host the 3rd Asian Deaf Catholic Conference (ADCC) in May 2020.
The Singapore community hopes to inspire many deaf Catholics in Asia to “grow their Catholic faith despite challenges”, said Mr Nathanael Thomas Oswald, President of the Singapore Catholic Deaf Community (SCDC). They expect some 1,000 deaf Catholics to attend from across Asia.
In a press release, Mr Oswald also shared their experiences at the recent 2nd ADCC conference in the Philippines, whose purpose is to integrate deaf Catholics into the Church. This was held from Nov 27-Dec 1 in Tagaytay City.
Eight members from SCDC – five deaf and three hearing persons – attended the event which attracted a total of 150 participants, with the rest coming from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Mr Nathanael Thomas Oswald (front) and members of the Singapore Catholic Deaf Community at the conference.
During the conference, participants learnt from speakers the importance of integrating deaf Catholics into the Church
During a talk titled “Inclusive Liturgy for the Deaf”, participants learnt that it is possible to have sign language during a regular Mass. Such Masses are already being celebrated, they learnt.
Another talk, titled “Growing Experience of Faith as a Deaf Person”, highlighted the story of deaf Filipino speaker Renato Cruz who managed to learn his catechism and practise his Catholic faith thanks to the help of deaf communities. He even met Pope Francis when the pontiff visited the Philippines in 2015.
A Korean priest, Father Min Seo Park, also shared that he will be opening a church for the deaf in South Korea in 2019.
During the conference, participants also shared with each other the challenges they face as deaf Catholics in their own countries.
The first such conference was held in Thailand in 2015.
SCDC has about 40 members. Their Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/singaporecatholicdeafcommunity/