A scene from the musical performed by the Sec 3 confirmands. Photos: Church of the Holy Cross.

Susan Pang

Amidst the “watching” and “waiting” during the Season of Advent, things were really not too quiet at the Church of the Holy Cross.

We began the season with an online series of recollection over four weeks helmed by Brother Shaun Lim, spending time together as we prepare to receive the greatest gift we could ever be given – Jesus, the reason for the season. The youth arm of the church, Holy Cross Young People’s Office, also reached out to young people with a separate spiritual session to call to mind the meaning of Jesus in their lives.

Loving our neighbours

In his Message for the World Day of the Poor 2020, Pope Francis called us to “Stretch forth your hand to the poor”. (Sir 7:32).

We answered this call in two ways. When our Parish Executive Committee convened virtually to plan our outreach programme, parishioners were invited to propose anyone from the parish whom they belived needed assistance; sponsors would then be found for gift vouchers for the recipients. Then, we decided raised funds for the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) through Project G.O.D, an annual Advent highlight event run by the confirmands and their facilitators, which serves to bond the community and to raise funds for different beneficiaries every year. SSVP was chosen as the beneficiary for 2020.

Project G.O.D fund-raising activities included the staging of an adaption of the Broadway musical “Godspell” by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak. Our production of G.O.DSPELL was directed by Franciscan Friar Martin Low, OFM with a guest performance by our parish priest Fr Henry Siew. The confirmands put together two performances in our Faith Auditorium at Holy Cross with a maximum capacity of 100 each show.

Confirmand Jessintha Jagendran enthused, “G.O.DSPELL was a memorable and enjoyable journey that l will remember for life. I was really excited as I had never performed onstage before.” Alicia Jocelyn Jokro said, “I’m really glad that I was able to help SSVP while having fun and becoming good friends with the rest of the cast and the musicians. We worried over whether we would be prepared in time, but we managed with God’s help and everyone’s efforts.”

The confirmands also ran a “Bake and Coffee” stall and held sales of handicrafts, tote bags and knick knacks, with a delivery service thrown in. One of the youth tote bag designers, Sarah Tan, confessed, “I was at first daunted by the task of trying to create a design that would be appealing to the public, but thanks to the guidance provided to me by my catechists and facilitators, I am really glad to see that people found the bags nice and actually bought them!” She felt honoured and thankful to be able to contribute her abilities in such a meaningful way.

Project G.O.D raised close to $10,000 including love offerings for SSVP.

Celebrating our community

We rounded off 2020 with a packed 1.5 hour programme held on Dec 31, all via Zoom, including the New Year countdown. The celebration also featured a “Holy Cross Got Talent” show where participants submitted video clips of their performance for judging by the panel of priests and voting by the audience via Zoom polling. Alexx Leong, 11, who took part in the fancy dress competition, said, “It was fun trying to imagine St Joseph as a happy Daddy carrying baby Jesus, so I laughed a lot during the photo shoot!”

Furtive appearances by heavily-disguised ministry leaders completed the “Guess Who?” segment. And of course, there was a lucky draw with sponsored prizes for those who purchased the special party packs that included tickets for a fun-filled All Saints Bingo game!

With our faith and community spirit in our church re-ignited, we pray that as we usher in 2021, we may face this new year with fresh hope and openness to great possibilities, and with thanksgiving to God that we have yet again another opportunity to respond to His love by shining out our faith to others, always with kindness and love!