JUNE 06, 2010, Vol 60, No 11


Is there such a thing as “real: love?  How do we know when we are ready for it?  And does love come with a freedom of choice?  These are questions that teenagers and young adults often ask or ponder about love.   Our contributor, Jean Cheng, recently spoke at St Francis Xavier Church on “Love vs Lust”.  We are pleased that she has agreed to contribute this article that explores love, life and faith – in the eyes of a young adult. 

FATHER J. J. FENELON sings a Blues version of The Lord is My Shepherd, in a bar scene of the musical 13:34 produced by CANA, with participation of the priests and laypeople, to close the celebrations of Year For Priests. Limited number of premium seats and $10 tickets left. Please be seated by 7.15pm for pre-show treat. Photo by Carolyn Seow


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In celebrating the Year for Priests declared by Pope Benedict on Jun 19, 2009, CatholicNews has been featuring one priest in each issue; Joyce Gan concludes this section with an interview with Archbishop Nicholas Chia, the priest of priests in the Singapore Archdiocese

IF ANYONE HAD suggested to young Nicholas, or even Father Nicholas Chia that he would one day become the Archbishop of Singapore, he would have laughed and responded, “I will be quite afraid because of the many heavy responsibilities!”

But become the third Archbishop of Singapore, he did, on Oct 7, 2001.

Perhaps one would have expected a grand and loud calling for the archbishop, but there was nothing dramatic about his calling. He simply followed the promptings in his heart and responded accordingly – the rest, as they say, and as he says, happened according to God’s will.

As the third son in a family of six, young Nicholas grew up in Hougang and attended then Holy Innocents’ English School, now known as Montfort School. His parish was Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and his role model was his parish priest, Father Francis Chan.

Volunteer Mary Vasanthi feeding one of the home’s residents. Mary is one of six volunteers who were given long service appreciation awards for 25 years of volunteer service to home at the home’s silver jubilee celebration on May 15. Photo by Darren Boon

SINGAPORE – The elderly residents wait patiently for lunch as soothing strains of hymns of praise fill the dining area of the Gift of Love Home. Volunteer Mary Vasanthi is already at work – a plate of soggy ‘bee hoon’ in her hands, and with a spoon, breaks the contents down into smaller edible strands, and feeds one of the elderly residents under the former’s care.

As the use of the pill became more widespread, the divorce rate doubled from 25 percent of all U.S. marriages in 1965 to 50 percent in 1975.


When first introduced, the birth control pill was heralded as a development that would lead to fewer divorces and a steep decline in the number of unwanted pregnancies and in the number of abortions. Fifty years later cultural evidence shows those expectations to be unfulfilled. CNS photo

WASHINGTON – Fifty years ago this May, the Food and Drug Administration gave its approval for the use of a combination of the hormones progesterone and estrogen that the pharmaceutical company Searle said would prevent pregnancy 99.7 percent of the time.
Relatives mourn after identifying the victims of an Air India Express passenger plane crash outside a hospital in Mangalore, India, May 23. CNS photo


MANGALORE, INDIA – Bishop Aloysius D’Souza of Mangalore said his diocese is ready to help the families of those who perished in the May 22 airline crash that killed 158 people.

“But first we are trying to ascertain through the parish priests the actual need, and then we will respond accordingly,” he told the Asian Church agency UCA News a day after the disaster.
WASHINGTON – A Catholic nurse is suing New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital and some members of its medical staff, charging that her conscience rights were violated when she was compelled to help with a late-term abortion last year.

A lawsuit filed Apr 29 on behalf of Catherina Cenzon-DeCarlo alleges that the nurse’s conscience rights under state law were violated by her forced participation in a late-term, non-emergency abortion in May 2009, despite the fact that Cenzon-DeCarlo had notified the hospital of her religious objections to abortion before she was hired in 2004.
SINGAPORE – Travelling from their home in Eunos to the city Church of Sts. Peter and Paul used to be a half-hour trip for Robert and Mabel Tan. The couple, both in their 70s, would take the train first to City Hall MRT station, and then walked for 15 minutes, rain or shine, to the church at Queen Street.

Since Bras Basah MRT station opened on Apr 17, the Tans have welcomed its convenience and made good use of it by utilising the Circle Line to get to their destination.

This involves changing trains at Paya Lebar MRT station, which serves as an interchange between the East-West line and the Circle Line.

One of Bras Basah MRT station’s five entrances is located at Queen Street beside the NTUC Income Centre, 150 metres from the church. St. Joseph’s Church is about 250 metres from the station entrance, while the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd is just across the road from the exit.
SINCE JANUARY, THE parish of Sts. Peter and Paul has installed a barrier and imposed a parking fee, so that parishioners would not take the carpark for granted. Non-churchgoers have also parked their cars in the church’s premises and head to nearby areas for their own activities.

“I believe this is a case of injustice,” said Father Anselm, but admitted that there is no “perfect system”. Even so, the barrier has been an effective deterrent of carpark abuse.

The parish charges $1.50 per half-hour from Mondays to Saturdays 7.00am-9.00pm. The church gates close at 9.00pm and any vehicle parked inside after closing hours are charged $10 per hour.

On Sundays, free parking is available for a 10-minute grace period. Mass-goers are also granted free parking between 6.00am-9.30am and 4.30pm-7.30pm.
THE BRAS BASAH station’s exit directory while listing St. Joseph’s Church and Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, omitted Church of Sts. Peter and Paul from its listing.

Responding to CatholicNews queries, a spokesperson from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said that the listings for the exit directory is based on 1) landmarks located within 400 metres of the station, and 2) any buildings sanctioned by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) as places of interest. The two churches, the spokesperson said, fulfil both criteria.

The spokesperson added that due to the limited space in the exit directory, not all buildings/places of worship would be listed, and advised commuters to refer to the locality map next to the directory for directions.

The LTA will be looking at amending the exit directory of the Bras Basah MRT within the next four to six weeks to reflect the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, said the spokesperson.
SINGAPORE – When the Mustard Seed Community of young adults celebrated their 10th anniversary, they came up with an idea to reach out to other young adults. This idea has become a series of talks and a weekend retreat for those aged 23 to 35 years, especially those searching for a deeper meaning in their life and faith.

The series of six talks titled “SE7EN” begins Jun 6 and will be held on alternate Sundays 3.00-5.00pm at Church of St. Francis Xavier parish centre. The retreat will be held Jul 2-4 at Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Retreat Centre.

Mustard Seed Community was formed in 1999. Now, it comprises 25 young adults who meet twice weekly, on Tuesdays for Bible sharing and on Sundays for prayer, fellowship, and worship. The community strives to grow together in their faith journey while challenging one another to build the Kingdom of God in their daily lives.

Church of St. Francis Xavier Youth Choir at a performance.
Photo provided by St. Francis Xavier Youth Choir


SINGAPORE – During a pilgrimage in June, the St. Francis Xavier Youth Choir will be performing for Pope Benedict at his weekly Wednesday general audience.

The 30 members will visit the major churches in Rome, and discover the life and spirituality of St. Francis when they visit Assisi.

The pilgrimage follows their inaugural participation in the Grand Prix St. Petersburg 2010 World Choir Festival held Jun 16-20.

Since 2008, the choir has planned to participate in the competition. Concert fundraisers and parishioners’ support and donations enabled the project to succeed, said John Goh, a choir representative.
SINGAPORE – Malayalee Catholics here have a new spiritual director, Father Michael Benchamin (photo) here to replace his predecessor Father Joseph Kanappilly who has since returned to India.

Father Michael has been a priest for 16 years, and, aside from a few short stints in Canada, Italy, and Malta, this is his first overseas posting.

He was born and educated in Kerala, South India, and hails from Kottayam, the capital city of the district of the same name in central Kerala. He promoted vocations, and was the diocesan director for the Kerala Catholic Youth Movement.

He is ‘on loan’ for two years from the Vijayapuram diocese in Kerala to Singapore in order to minister to the Malayalee Catholics here. He will also assist Father John Khoo, parish priest of Church of St. Stephen.

Father Michael acknowledged that two years is too short a time to make long-term plans for the Malayalam-speaking community. Even so, he hopes to “orient them to Jesus... lead them in their spiritual life... [and] conduct the people when they come to church” and when they gather to worship God.

Volunteer Mary Vasanthi feeding one of the home’s residents. Mary is one of six volunteers who were given long service appreciation awards for 25 years of volunteer service to home at the home’s silver jubilee celebration May 15.
Photo by Darren Boon


SINGAPORE – The elderly residents wait patiently for lunch as soothing strains of hymns of praise fill the dining area of the Gift of Love Home. Volunteer Mary Vasanthi is already at work – a plate of soggy ‘bee hoon’ in her hands, and with a spoon, breaks the contents down into smaller edible strands, and feeds one of the elderly residents under the former’s care.

Seated in a wheelchair, the resident pauses and turns her wrinkled face from Mary after each bite. Mary cajoles the resident to take another bite until the latter is full.

The lunch bell rings. Other volunteers dish out plates of rice with vegetables and meat for the residents. Accompanying the meal is a bowl of clear soup and a side plate of fruit. Those residents who are unable to take solid food are given cereal or ‘bee hoon’ instead.

Meanwhile, Mary moves on to patiently feed another resident while some other volunteers busy themselves with feeding other dependent residents.

Pope Benedict XVI waves to the crowd during his “Regina Coeli” prayer at the Vatican May 16. Some 120,000 people attended the “Regina Coeli” in a show of support for the pope.
CNS photo


VATICAN CITY – About 120,000 people converged on St. Peter’s Square to express support for Pope Benedict XVI in dealing with the clerical sexual abuse scandal.

Thanking the crowd for their presence and affection May 16, Pope Benedict said, “The true enemy to fear is sin, the spiritual evil that unfortunately sometimes infects even members of the Church.”

“We Christians are not afraid of the world, even if we have to be careful of its seductions. Rather we must fear sin and, for that reason, be strongly rooted in God and solid in goodness, love and service,” he said at his weekly Sunday blessing.

With trust in the Lord and a renewed commitment to following Him, he said, the Church can become holier by going through “the trials” it is facing.