The Verbum Dei Missionaries in Singapore launched their worldwide congregation’s 50th anniversary celebrations with a Mass at Church of St Teresa Church.
The March 24 Mass was celebrated by Fr Gerson Ortiz, a Philippines-based Verbum Dei priest, and Friar Antonio Gonzalez, a Dominican priest based in Singapore.
“As missionaries, our mission is to share with others the joy of the Gospel,” Fr Ortiz said during the Mass. “When God is at the centre of our lives, we experience fullness of life.”
The priest noted that “all the followers of Jesus have these experiences of deep joy”.
“In my first silent retreat, I realised how beautiful life with God is and that the most precious treasure in life is to find God and live with Him.”
Fr Ortiz, a Venezuelan, also recounted how the congregation’s founder Fr Jaime Bonet played an active role in leading him to discern and answer God’s call.
A skit depicting Fr Bonet and the congregation’s history was also presented before Mass.
The Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity started in Singapore in September 1997 in a three-room flat in Clementi.
There are now five Singaporean female missionaries and two Singaporean priests, most of whom are based overseas.
Three Verbum Dei Missionaries are based here – Sr Maria Jose M Egido, Sr Grace Gonzales and Sr Sandra Seow, the only Singaporean.
The community conducts weekly prayer sessions at their house in Taman Mas Merah, where young adults gather to pray with the Word of God.
There is also weekly formation for the core team made up of singles and couples, called Verbum Dei Disciples. Many other activities are also held for people of various ages and states of life.
The missionaries help parishes through retreats, confirmation camps as well as talks and formation programme for parish groups.
Over the years, mission trips to places like Timor Leste, the Philippines, China and Taiwan have also been organised.
Ms Nicole Jegathesan, who has been attending regular prayer and formation sessions with her husband commented, “We find Verbum Dei activities the heart, the essence of our Christian calling, both as an individual and as a couple. The charism of prayer and preaching through the witnessing of our lives answers to that deep desire we have to lead meaningful and joyful lives with others around us.”
Verbum Dei was founded in Jan 17, 1963, by Fr Bonet, from Majorca, Spain.
For information on the Verbum Dei community, visit http://www.verbumdeisingapore.org/ n