DECEMBER 6, 2009, Vol59, No25

Local articles  will be made available online from Monday 30th November 09 onwards. Articles from CNS and others, please refer to the printed version of the CatholicNews.
I WAS PLEASED to see an article on China by my confrere, Father Jeroom Heyndrickx, CICM, published in CN Nov 22 (Opinion, page 21). But I was totally flabbergasted when I saw the heading, "Chinese bishop who joined Patriotic Church deserves our respect".
WHAT FOLLOWS IS probably a superfluous review – insofar as New Moon is already being hailed as the fastest and vastest pre-booking movie event of all time. Since the four novels by Stephanie Meyer have sold gazillions of copies, the market of teenage girls (and, so we are informed, of 40-something mothers) is at the ready. The first film Twilight was such a success that it was an instant cult movie. A year later, New Moon. And only a wait of seven months before the next sequel arrives, June 2010, Eclipse (and for the astronomically minded, the fourth novel is called Breaking Dawn).
AT FIRST GLANCE, the title, “The Smart Way of Loving” by Father Henry Siew seemed a little strange to me for a book on marriage. You can be smart about handling your boss or managing your subordinates, but to be smart about dealings with your spouse sounded a bit too business-like for me.

However, as I read on, it became clear the author was using real-life examples of couples to tell us the pitfalls in a spousal relationship and how we can be smart about it and avoid them in order to have a loving, growing relationship with our spouse.
After years of unsuccessful fertility treatments, a mother has discovered firsthand the joy of adoption. Joyce Gan explores how Andrea’s experiences brought her to help other parents answer the difficult question: "What about adoption?"

* All names have been changed.

ONCE UPON A TIME, Andrea was a successful marketing manager for an MNC. She loved her job and her husband John, a successful man.

Father Paul Goh is an advocate of personal development. At age 71, he enjoys learning to use his iPhone to send text messages, and surfs the Internet with his iMac. Daniel Tay meets the priest who knows a little about everything.

FATHER PAUL GOH has always been curious. It is this innate curiosity that drives him to learn new things every day.

As a youth, Huynh Tieu Huong struggled for survival alone on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. Today, she provides homeless orphans a home and a family, so that they never have to endure what she went through. Darren Boon meets the woman who is  a mother of 300.

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI lamented the serious lack of public programmes and measures for the needs of deaf people, and a lack of basic healthcare, which can prevent hearing impairment.

He spoke to some 400 people at a Vatican conference addressing the role of the deaf in the Church. Interpreters signed the pope’s words.
Photo by Darren Boon

SINGAPORE – The process of building Church of Divine Mercy had been fraught with delays and obstacles since the project commenced four years ago.

But for 60 parishioners on a Nov 22 preview tour (photo), the wait has only served to heighten their excitement at seeing what will become their new parish.

(From left) Chairman of Assisi Hospice Mr Ronny Tan, General Manager of Pan Pacific Singapore Mr Ivan Lee, Sister Barbara Pereira, FMDM, little Venus and Jai Pao from Assisi Children Centre, PM Lee Hsien Loong and Fund Raising Chairman of Assisi Hospice  Mrs Jeannie Tien. Photo by Wu Weibin.

Singapore – Assisi Hospice celebrated its 40th anniversary with a charity dinner on Sunday Nov 8 at the Pan Pacific Hotel Ballroom.

The 560 guests that attended the dinner raised a total of $950,000 with that evening’s charity auction of 10 items that brought in more than $75,000.

Catholic Chinese migrant workers listen to Patricia Chia present a talk on “Who is Jesus”.
Photo by Darren Boon

SINGAPORE – Catholic migrant workers from China say that the monthly faith formation classes held at Church of Sts. Peter and Paul are enriching and help them deepen their faith.

A construction worker Chen Shun Qiang, 34, from Hebei, told CatholicNews that the monthly third Sunday evening talks help strengthen his faith and that he has gained a deeper understanding about Jesus and God.

“We may be Catholic but our knowledge of God is limited back home in China,” Mr Chen said in Mandarin.

Fellow construction worker Wang Zhan Qiang, 37, is a cradle Catholic also from Hebei. He said that it was only natural for him to want to attend a Catholic church in Singapore, and expressed hope that the classes will help bolster his faith.
Father Thomas Euteneuer encourages Catholics to fight for life. Photo by Darren Boon

SINGAPORE – A renowned pro-life activist has compared abortion clinics to demonic temples in a bid to highlight the presence of the ‘Culture of Death’.

The abortion table is like an altar whereby babies are offered as blood sacrifices, said Father Thomas Euteneuer, who gave a talk to about 100 people at Church of the Risen Christ on Nov 16.

Father Euteneuer is President of Human Life International (HLI), a U.S.-based Catholic organisation that promotes the Church’s pro-life teachings.
SINGAPORE – Ashes of the first Carmelite parish priest in Singapore, Father John Mary Chin, will be interred at Church of Sts. Peter and Paul on Saturday Nov 28.

Father Chin had returned to the Lord on Jul 17, the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, at the age of 94. He had “on many occasions, prayed for his death to be on [this feastday]. He had a strong devotion and fidelity to our Blessed Mother, the Queen of Carmel”, said Father Thomas Lim, OCD, Provincial Delegate of Taiwan-Singapore.

Father Chin was appointed as the first Provincial of Taiwan-Singapore Delegation of the Carmelite Community in 1984. The Carmelite General House in Rome had tasked him to start a Mandarin-speaking community in Asia.

He also started the Singapore Foundation in 1996 to meet the number of vocations coming from Singapore and Malaysia.
SINGAPORE – The Inter-Religious Organisation of Singapore (IRO) is celebrating its 60th anniversary with an exhibition on religions and cultures in China and Singapore, aimed at fostering better relationships between the two countries.

Over 1,000 religious items, relics and artifacts will be displayed at the China-Singapore Religious and Cultural Exhibition 2009, which is organised with major religious and civic organisations in Singapore and China.

The event will also feature seminars, talks, and performances by members of local and overseas religions.

Representing China are its five major religions – Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism. Singapore will be represented by the Hindu, Jewish, Zoroastrian, Christian, Buddhist, Taoist, Jain, Muslim, Sikh, and Baha’i religions.
SINGAPORE – The parish of St. Mary of the Angels has chosen, for its Advent Project ’09, to explore issues of AIDS, human trafficking, sex slavery, and the plight of migrant workers in Singapore.

This came about when they asked themselves: Who did Jesus come into this world for?

Nicholas Pang, Director of the parish’s Adult Faith Formation office, answered, “Amidst [this season’s] celebrations, it’s easy to forget that Jesus didn’t come just for the healthy, but to heal the sick and suffering too... especially in a country like Singapore where the sick, suffering, and foreigners are very much invisible in society.”

While brainstorming for ideas for this year’s Advent project, assistant parish priest Father John Wong, OFM, recalled a parishioner’s suggestion to host this year’s World AIDS Day Mass.

The parish works closely with Franciscans International – a non-governmental organisation with General Consultative status at the United Nations. The NGO tackles similar issues in the region.
Children from The Little House Montessori have fun at fete, while raising funds for children with cancer at Assisi Hospice. Photos from The Little House Montessori

SINGAPORE – Forty children (and families) from The Little House Montessori participated at a “Children for Children” fete organised on Saturday Oct 10 to raise funds for the children with cancer at Assisi Hospice.

The Little House Montessori is a pre-school and kindergarten that annually receives six to eight students aged from two-and-a-half to six.

In February this year, these kindergarteners were shown a film about poverty set in a third world country.

Ms Katherine Sebastian, who runs and teaches at The Little House Montessori observed that while the children were affected by the poverty other children faced, they did not think similar situations happened to Singaporean children.

“It spurred us to action, to show our school children that there are indeed those in our society who are in need,” she said, adding that action was needed, not simply talk.
SINGAPORE – For the first time in the history of St. Joseph’s Institution (SJI), girls have formally graduated as Josephians at SJI International’s inaugural graduation ceremony on Nov 21. Not only that, the highest honour of the day – the Josephian of the Year Award – went to a girl.

The Josephians of the past 157 years have all been male.

So it marked an interesting milestone in the Josephian annals when 25 Grade 12 girls (and 33 boys) received their graduation medallion, and when Hilda Foo Mei Lin (photo) took home the Philip Yeo Trophy for Josephian of the Year, at the ceremony.

Mr Philip Yeo, Special Advisor on Economic Development and Chairman of Spring Singapore, presided over the ceremony. He is also Chairman of the SJI International Leadership Council.

These graduates form the school’s very first cohort of International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma students.

Hilda had joined SJI International on a KMP Group Scholarship for the IB Diploma Programme after achieving six points for her ‘O’ levels at CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School. The CHIJ Alumni had conferred her the Lee Poh See Award, and she was recognised as a top leader and all-round student.

At SJI International, Hilda was Vice-President of the Senior School Student Council, volunteered at the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped and the Canossian School for the Hearing-Impaired, and sang with the school choir, amongst other contributions.

Although she was initially apprehensive about going to SJI International, she is proud to “declare those doubts are firmly dismissed”.
SINGAPORE – A team of six parent volunteers of St. Joseph’s Institution (SJI) Junior spent three days preparing 90 tulip pots for sale to students in a one-week effort to raise funds for children with cancer.

Students also bought more than 1,800 tulip stalks which, added to parents’ donations, amounted to $19,354.70 for the Children’s Cancer Foundation (CCF).

Parent volunteers sold the handmade silk cocoon tulips for $2 each at all the school recesses on Sep 28 and 29, the week of Children’s Day.

The tulip pots came in three sizes – the ‘Mini Tulip Pot’ with six tulip stalks, the ‘Medium Tulip Pot’ with 15 stalks, and the ‘Beary Tulip Pot’ with 20 stalks and a teddy bear. These were given to parents who pledged donations between $50 and $200.

(Above, front row from left) Brother Celestine Toh, CSsR, Sister Theresa Seow, FDCC, Archbishop Nicholas Chia, Monsignor Eugene Vaz, Father Michael Arro, Sister Maria Lau, IJ, and Reverend Gabriel Liew, listen as Father Timothy Radcliffe (bottom) talks about God’s morality as His friendship.
Photos by Daniel Tay

SINGAPORE – Catholics and Methodists learnt about morality as friendship with God and the use of dialogue to engage doctrinal issues at Dominican Father Timothy Radcliffe’s talk “Being Christian in the 21st Century”.

Father Radcliffe, 64, delivered the lecture to the 250-strong crowd comprising clergy, religious, laity, and Methodist pastors at Church of St. Teresa’s auditorium on Nov 13.

In his talk, the former Master of the Dominican Order noted that society, especially in the West, is “profoundly suspicious of doctrine” and fearful of morality.

Father Radcliffe cautioned Christians not to be tempted to retreat into a “Christian ghetto” or “disappear into the secular pothole”, but to be open to secularism and to people of other faiths.
Nicholas Foo (holding microphone) asks Father Timothy Radcliffe (in white) a question while Deacon Derrick Yap (in brown robes) looks on. Photo by Darren Boon

SINGAPORE – It is not often that Nicholas Foo, 24, gets to pose his questions or talk about God to a priest at a bar.

The management trainee was impressed when the priest, 40 years his senior, sat at the edge of the stage to talk to him. Mr Foo found it “warm and nice that he [came] down to my level” (photo).

This spontaneity that Dominican Father Timothy Radcliffe exuded continued in the talk-show-esque setting with about 180 young adults on Nov 19 at Love the World Soul Rock Bistro and Bar at the Singapore Flyer.

The evening’s session saw Father Radcliffe fielding questions and dishing advice, responding to issues such as Christian marriage and sex, dialogue with homosexuals, capitalism, interaction with non-Catholics, the future of the Church, vocations, workplace gossip, marriage, addictions, love, faith in the IT age, and which Christian church to go to.

The legend depicts the gift of a thousand arms to the Guan Yin, a bodhisattva who, moved by compassion, vowed never to rest until she had freed all sentient beings from the cycle of reincarnation. A bodhisattva is a being that is bound for enlightenment.
Photos by Daniel Tay

SINGAPORE – The Singapore Buddhist Lodge hosted 31 Catholics in an educational visit to learn about Buddhism on Nov 19.

It was organised by the Archdiocesan Council for Inter-Religious and Ecumenical Dialogue (IRED).

Catholics who arrived early that evening were treated to a sumptuous vegetarian buffet dinner. They were then ushered into a huge hall for a video presentation on the history of the Buddhist Lodge and a short presentation on Buddhism.
BUDDHISM BEGAN 2,500 years ago in India. It has spread throughout Asia and the world.

It is a philosophy, a religion, and a spiritual practice based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha.

Gautama was born of noble caste in India in 563 BC. He was raised in great luxury to be a king. Having empathy for the suffering of others, he rejected that life of luxury at age 29 to seek enlightenment and the solution to suffering.

Gautama first followed a strict ascetical lifestyle, but concluded that extreme self-mortification brought little spiritual benefit. He abandoned asceticism and concentrated on meditation, through which he discovered the Middle Way – a path of moderation between the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification.

At age 35, while meditating under a Bodhi tree, he achieved Nirvana – an awakening to the truth about life – and became a Buddha. He spent the remaining 45 years of his earthly life teaching others how to achieve the peace of mind that he had achieved.