2013

2013 issues in PDF are available at this link: http://issuu.com/catholicnews/stacks/5ce7e2ff8d034a779b5765990fd0ad0b
2013 issues in PDF are available at this link: 
http://issuu.com/catholicnews/stacks/5ce7e2ff8d034a779b5765990fd0ad0b

'Anyone who loves peace cannot tolerate attacks and crimes against life.'  – Pope Benedict XVI'Anyone who loves peace cannot tolerate attacks and crimes against life.' – Pope Benedict XVI

Religious freedom, euthanasia, rich-poor gap dealt with in Pope Benedict XVI’s annual World Day of Peace message

VATICAN CITY – True peacemakers defend human life at every stage of its existence and promote the common good through their economic policies and activities, Pope Benedict XVI said.

In his annual message for the World Day of Peace on Jan 1, Pope Benedict said attacks on human dignity and human rights – from abortion and euthanasia to limits on religious freedom, and from religious fanaticism to “unregulated financial capitalism” – undermine efforts to bring peace to the world.

The pope’s message was released on Dec 14 at a Vatican news conference led by Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

While reiterating Catholic teaching about the sacredness of every human life and about the dangers of an unregulated free-market economy, the pope’s message explained those teachings as logical, natural principles needed for a life marked by dignity and peaceful coexistence.
KARACHI, PAKISTAN – The Archdiocese of Karachi during Christmas distributed relief funds to families whose principal breadwinners were killed during one of the city’s most violent years.

The modest relief efforts benefited five families, each of which received about 50,000 rupees (S$626), and comprises part of a larger programme that aims to provide jobs and education for families of victims.

“It is very depressing that about 10 to 12 people die here on a daily basis [due to terrorism and sectarian violence].
WUHAN, CHINA – The provincial government in Hubei, China, has replaced two priests from Wuhan diocese with a government-selected management committee amid an escalating standoff between authorities and the Church in the province.

During a confrontational meeting on Dec 13, 15 priests and several nuns were escorted to the office of the provincial Religious Affairs Bureau where officials announced a reshuffle of leading clergy positions, said sources who declined to be identified.

Fr Joseph Shen Guo’an, who was temporarily in charge of Wuhan diocese and who has defied authorities in recent weeks, together with another priest were dismissed from the government-sanctioned Catholic Patriotic Association.

Msgr William GohMsgr William Goh

Msgr William Goh, who has been appointed coadjutor archbishop, shares his dreams


“I feel humbled … to assume this office,” said Msgr William Goh after it was announced that Pope Benedict XVI had appointed him Coadjutor Archbishop of Singapore.

However, the rector of the St Francis Xavier Major Seminary said he is “happy” God has considered him “worthy to be an instrument to renew the faith of the people in Singapore, to give life, to give hope to humanity”.

The Vatican made the announcement of Msgr Goh’s appointment on Dec 29. As of press time, no date has yet been set for his episcopal ordination.

Msgr William Goh, who has been appointed coadjutor archbishop, shares his dreams


A catechist presenting the Parable of the Good Shepherd to a child.A catechist presenting the Parable of the Good Shepherd to a child.Introduction – the Year of Faith

The theme of Catechetical Sunday 2013, which will be celebrated on Jan 13, is Catechists as Agents of the New Evangelisation. This theme draws its inspiration from the Year of Faith which was launched on Oct 11, 2012, and which will conclude on Nov 24, 2013.

In this Year of Faith, Pope Benedict XVI has invited all Christians to renew their understanding of the Christian faith and also to re-propose the faith to a new generation of Christians. This re-proposal of faith is new, not in its content but rather in its inner thrust; new in its methods that must correspond to the times; and new because it is necessary to proclaim the Gospel to those who have already heard it.

Pope Benedict XVI calls the Church to evangelise by entering into dialogue with modern culture and confronting the cultural crisis brought on by secularisation.
In the letter, About Halloween and Christmas (CN Dec 30), Ms Ellen Tan refuted criticism of Halloween by claiming it was based on the Feast of All Saints, and said that Christmas celebrations also contain elements “not mentioned in the Bible” like Christmas trees, gift-giving and the Three Kings.

But what was condemned was secular society’s distortion of Halloween. The quaint custom of children dressing up to “trick or treat” neighbours has turned into a horror show.

Adults dress as zombies or mutilated corpses – the bloodier, the better.

This idea that the dead are terrifyingly evil is diametrically opposed to the Christian belief that the Holy Souls in Purgatory are our brethren who need our prayers.

The rituals of any celebration should be judged by how well they express the meaning of the feast. The way Halloween is celebrated nowadays clearly obscures its Christian roots.
Ms Ellen Tan’s assertion in her letter, About Halloween and Christmas (CN Dec 30), that the Dec 25 celebration of Jesus’ birth “has its roots as a pagan celebration of the Sun God” is historically inaccurate.

The early Christian communities, as recorded by Clement of Alexandria, began celebrating Jesus’ birth sometime around 200 AD.

Though the date varied by community, the two dates which became most common were Dec 25 and Jan 6 (the Feast of the Epiphany, which became in the Eastern Churches a more prominent feast than Christmas); in fact, he notes the Basilidians celebrating the Epiphany on January 6. It should also be understood that the celebration of the birth of saints etc. was developed over time, and was not initially practised; hence, the slow development of Christmas.

The pagan Romans did not celebrate the feast of the Sun God on Dec 25 until 274 AD, when Emperor Aurelian dedicated a temple to Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun) and named him the premier deity of the empire.

A member of missionary group A Call to Share (ACTS) interacts with kindergarten children in Battambang, Cambodia.A member of missionary group A Call to Share (ACTS) interacts with kindergarten children in Battambang, Cambodia.

Members of missionary group A Call to Share (ACTS) visited Myanmar, Cambodia and the Philippines in November and December to serve the needy in these countries.

From Dec 9-16, an ACTS team visited the Infant Jesus (IJ) Centre in Yangon, Myanmar, and three homes run by Salesian nuns at Pyin Oo Lwin, Anisakan and Chanthagon.

The IJ Centre conducts courses for trainee teachers while the homes provide shelter and education to girls of various age groups.
Ms Mildred Longue, 89, has helped to pack CatholicNews for distribution for at least 40 years.Ms Mildred Longue, 89, has helped to pack CatholicNews for distribution for at least 40 years.CatholicNews will miss the services of two of its longest serving volunteers, both in their 80s, who have been helping to pack the paper for distribution over at least four decades.

Due to their advanced age, Ms Mildred Longue, 89, and another volunteer, who declined to be interviewed, will take a break from their service to the archdiocesan newspaper starting this month.

They are both part of a team who have been faithfully coming to the Catholic Archdiocesan Education Centre (CAEC) to pack the paper every fortnight.
There will be two services to mark this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which is celebrated from Jan 18 to 25.

This year’s theme is What does God Require of Us?

An international ecumenical service will be held on Jan 18 at 8 pm at Blessed Sacrament Church located in Commonwealth Drive.

It will include praise and thanksgiving, a Liturgy of the Word followed by a homily, the recitation of the Nicene Creed, intercessory prayers and the Lord’s Prayer.

The second service will be held in the Wesleyan Tradition on Jan 24 at 8 pm in Barker Road Methodist Church at 48 Barker Road.

Rev Malcolm Tan, Pastor-in-Charge, told CatholicNews that the service will have a “Wesleyan twist by including Methodist hymns, relevant quotations from John Wesley and some historical references to enrich the programme already being followed by all”.

Wesley was an Anglican cleric and Christian theologian. He is largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, for founding the Methodist movement.

Rev Tan added: “It will be a great opportunity to celebrate our common unity in Christ and learn about the Methodist tradition at the same time. Together, we will thank God for Jesus and for each other.”

All are welcome to participate in both services.

By Darren Boon
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The St Francis Xavier Youth Choir poses for a photo with parish priest Fr John Bosco (fifth from left), Archbishop Nicholas Chia and choirmaster Denis Leong (beside Archbishop Chia).The St Francis Xavier Youth Choir poses for a photo with parish priest Fr John Bosco (fifth from left), Archbishop Nicholas Chia and choirmaster Denis Leong (beside Archbishop Chia).The Church of St Francis Xavier Youth Choir staged a choral concert on Dec 21 at SJI International School Chapel to celebrate the Year of Faith.

Titled Heartbeat, the choir chose songs in line with the concert’s theme.

The first half of the evening’s programme focused on three aspects of the faith – Darkness to Light, Pain to Meaningful Acceptance, and Darkness to Life.
Grace and Glory Psalm 84 is an expression of gratitude towards God, Hong Kong singer Frances Yip told CatholicNews in a phone interview.

Her best friend from school days had asked for her help in a fundraising project to rebuild a school in the former’s parish in Vancouver.

The friend had suggested Yip record a Christian album, something the singer had not done in her 40-year long career.

Frances Yip sang numbers from her album, Grace and Glory Psalm 84, as well as her signature song, Shanghai Beach. Photo: ALAN LEEFrances Yip sang numbers from her album, Grace and Glory Psalm 84, as well as her signature song, Shanghai Beach. Photo: ALAN LEE

Frances Yip sings selection of songs from her new Christian album at Queen of Peace Church

Hong Kong singer Frances Yip performed songs from her newly released Christian album and shared her Catholic faith with 800 people who packed the Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace recently.

The special concert, organised by Warner Music Singapore and Love Entertainment Group, was to coincide with the launch of Yip’s first Christian-theme music album, Grace and Glory Psalm 84.

In between the nine songs she sang that evening, Yip, a breast cancer survivor, shared how angry she had felt towards God and others when she was diagnosed with the disease decades ago.

US Ambassador David Isaac Adelman (back row, fourth from right) poses for a photo with religious representatives and CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel students at the end of the IRO condolence event.US Ambassador David Isaac Adelman (back row, fourth from right) poses for a photo with religious representatives and CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel students at the end of the IRO condolence event.

Why do the righteous suffer? Why do bad things happen to good people?

US Ambassador to Singapore David Isaac Adelman asked these questions during an interfaith prayer cum condolence event for those affected by the shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“Each religion represented here struggles with that very question,” said Mr Adelman, in his address during the Dec 21 event organised by the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) Singapore.

The crowd which packed the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea on Dec 17.The crowd which packed the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea on Dec 17.

Thousands of Filipinos flocked to attend the Simbang Gabi Masses ahead of Christmas


Thousands of Filipino Catholics flocked to the Simbang Gabi Masses held in 27 churches here in preparation for Christmas.

These Masses, popular in the Philippines, are also known by their Spanish name, Misa de Gallo, which means “Mass of the rooster”.

The celebrations, traditionally held at about 4 or 5 am, would last nine days, starting on Dec 16 and ending on Christmas Eve.

The visit of the ‘Wise Men’ is so significant that it is accorded its own feast in the Church’s calendar

  From the very start of His human existence, Jesus is clearly seen as the universal king who has come to tear down the wall dividing Jew from gentile, nation from nation. From the very start of His human existence, Jesus is clearly seen as the universal king who has come to tear down the wall dividing Jew from gentile, nation from nation.

UP UNTIL now, all has been quite humble: a donkey ride to a dusty town south of Jerusalem, hotel rooms all booked up, giving birth in a stable and the baby resting in an animal’s feed trough instead of a cosy cradle.

Into this scene of obscure poverty suddenly bursts an exotic entourage from a far-off land. Dignitaries in dress uniform lavish the newborn with expensive gifts that seem out of place in the humble surroundings.

This event is so significant that it is accorded its own feast in the Roman liturgy, celebrated traditionally on Jan 6, immediately after the 12 days of Christmas. This solemn feast is called Epiphany, a word that means “manifestation” or “appearance”.

For a fleeting moment, what seems to be no more than another crying baby of an indigent family “appears” for who He really is: the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

  Supporters of the National League for Democracy hold a portrait of Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a by-election last year.  CNS photo Supporters of the National League for Democracy hold a portrait of Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a by-election last year. CNS photo

LONDON – The Archbishop of Yangon says that 50 years after the military junta seized power in Myanmar, the light of hope is slowly starting and the country’s three million refugees should return home.

According to Zenit news agency, in a Christmas homily reported by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Archbishop Charles Bo said “the opportunity” has come for the country’s massive exiled community to “come back to their motherland”.

The archbishop’s appeal extended to the country’s one million internally displaced people.

Archbishop Bo’s message comes amid widespread change in Myanmar. A nominally civilian government was installed in March 2011, a few months after the release of pro-democracy campaigner Aung Sang Suu Kyi. Last November, US President Barack Obama paid a landmark visit to the country.

Archbishop Bo called for the release of “political prisoners” jailed abroad and said the people’s debts should be cancelled, describing Myanmar as “a nation on a loan, despite our resources”.

He appealed for an end to internal conflict, saying that thousands had died in “senseless” violence and called for efforts towards reconciliation, saying that justice and peace were both vital.
MANILA – Domestic workers in Asia receive among the worst treatment globally, according to a report released on Jan 9 by the International Labour Organization.

Of the 21.5 million domestic workers in the Asia-Pacific, only three percent are entitled to a weekly day of rest against around half of all the butlers, maids and gardeners employed worldwide, according to the ILO report.

Similarly, just one percent of domestic workers in the region have statutory limits to their standard maximum weekly working hours versus three-quarters of counterparts in Latin America.

Asia scored particularly badly on maternity leave, a key indicator of rights given that women make up 80 percent of all domestic workers worldwide. Only 12 percent in the region enjoy such benefits, the report said, while in Latin America every woman qualifies for maternity leave.

  Thousands of demonstrators march in Paris on Jan 13 to protest France’s planned legalisation of same-sex marriage. CNS photo Thousands of demonstrators march in Paris on Jan 13 to protest France’s planned legalisation of same-sex marriage. CNS photo

PARIS – A French bishops’ spokesman urged politicians to “listen to the streets” after hundreds of thousands of people rallied against same-sex marriage.

“We’re facing questions about society – what the family is, what marriage is, and whether there’s a difference between men and women,” Msgr Bernard Podvin, spokesman for the French bishops’ conference, told France’s Metro daily.

“I’m not one who says the street must decide, because this is always dangerous, and political responsibility rests with those elected. But the street is expressing a great frustration today – those holding political responsibility can’t expect to govern without listening to what it’s saying,” he said.

The Jan 13 demonstration was organised by a coalition of 30 family groups. Organisers said 800,000 people participated, although French police put the number at 340,000.

Msgr Podvin said the Catholic Church believed homosexuals “must be respected,” but was against the same-sex bill, which was introduced in November by the government of President Francois Hollande under the slogan, “Marriage for All”. In addition to legalising same-sex marriage, it would allow adoption by same-sex couples.
VATICAN CITY – The Catholic Church remains committed to deepening its relations with Jews and finds it “absolutely unacceptable” to consider the Jewish people as enemies, the Vatican spokesman said.

“It is absolutely unacceptable, impossible, to define the Jews as enemies of the Church,” Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi said.

In an audio recording posted on YouTube on Dec 30, the head of the traditionalist Society of St Pius X called the Jewish people “enemies of the Church”, saying Jewish leaders’ support of the Second Vatican Council “shows that Vatican II is their thing, not the Church’s”.

Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the society, said those most opposed to the Church granting canonical recognition to the traditionalist society have been “the enemies of the Church: the Jews, the Masons, the modernists”.
ROME – Politicians who want to act as if God did not exist and as if there was no such thing as objective moral truths are bound to fail in their efforts to promote the common good, said a Vatican official.

“The politics we have today in Europe and North America without ethical foundations, without a reference to God, cannot resolve our problems, even those of the market and money,” said Archbishop Gerhard L Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The archbishop, coordinator of the project to publish the complete works of Joseph Ratzinger-Pope Benedict XVI, said one of the key teachings of the pope is the importance of faith and reason going hand in hand.

Speaking on Jan 11 at a Vatican bookstore in downtown Rome, Archbishop Muller said, “Faith and reason are like two people who love each other deeply, who cannot live without each other, and who were intimately made for one another, so much so that they cannot be considered separate from one another and cannot reach their goals separately”.
VATICAN CITY – Vatican City State vendors, including the Vatican Museums and supermarket, stopped accepting credit and debit card payments on Jan 1, citing technical difficulties amid unofficial reports of regulatory concerns by Italian financial authorities.

Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said on Jan 2, “The arrangement between several Vatican City State offices and one of the POS (point of sale) providers, whose services were employed to facilitate payments by tourists and pilgrims inside the Vatican, is about to expire.”

He said the Vatican already was in negotiations with other providers, and the no-plastic policy was expected to short-lived.
The right to own guns is not an absolute right. As a personal right it always has to be balanced with the legitimate rights of other people and with protecting the common good. That’s a principle that applies to all individual freedoms.

For example, we’re guaranteed the right to free speech, but it’s not an absolute right. It was decided a long time ago that because of the common good and for reasons of public safety you can’t yell “fire” in a theatre.

And you want to test your freedom of speech? Try talking about your fascination with bombs the next time you’re boarding an airplane and see what happens.

As a society we need always to achieve a proper balance between individual freedom and the common good.

The question about the “right to bear arms”, the ownership of guns by individuals, has been forced into public debate once again by the horrific slaughter of 27 people, including 20 little children, in Connecticut by one deranged young man.
Four new archbishops lie prostrate during their ordination by Pope Benedict XVI in St Peter’s Basilica on Jan 6.Four new archbishops lie prostrate during their ordination by Pope Benedict XVI in St Peter’s Basilica on Jan 6.Public approval ‘is not the criterion to which we submit’, he says

VATICAN CITY – In their task of leading people to the light of Christ, bishops must have the courage to face opposition and peacefully stand firm in the truth, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Meeting the approval of the wider public “is not the criterion to which we submit. Our criterion is the Lord himself,” the pope said on Jan 6 as he celebrated the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord with a Mass in St Peter’s Basilica.

“The fear of God frees us from the fear of men. It liberates,” he said.

Bishops must stand firm to lead people to Christ: pope
Public approval ‘is not the criterion to which we submit’, he says

Members of the team seen here with the fabric to be used for the vestments (from left): Sr Mary Chua (in charge of adminstration), Ms Mary Chia, Ms Annie Keat, Sr Maria Doan Thi Thieu Huong, Ms Tan Lay Hua, Ms Dorothy Tan and Sr Teresa Lee.Members of the team seen here with the fabric to be used for the vestments (from left): Sr Mary Chua (in charge of adminstration), Ms Mary Chia, Ms Annie Keat, Sr Maria Doan Thi Thieu Huong, Ms Tan Lay Hua, Ms Dorothy Tan and Sr Teresa Lee.

FMM team making stoles, vestments and mitres for Msgr William Goh’s episcopal ordination


A team of nuns and lay people are now busy making stoles, vestments and mitres for Coadjutor Archbishop-elect William Goh’s episcopal ordination on Feb 22.

“We will be making 200 stoles [for priests and bishops], 20 vestments [for bishops] and four mitres [for the consecrating bishops and the coadjutor archbishop], all in matching design for this important occasion,” said Sr Teresa Lee, a Franciscan Missionaries of Mary nun, who is in charge of the project.
  ‘At the moment, I shall focus on continuing what has already been established.’  – Archbishop John Wong  Archbishop John Wong’s installation is scheduled for Jan 24. ‘At the moment, I shall focus on continuing what has already been established.’ – Archbishop John Wong Archbishop John Wong’s installation is scheduled for Jan 24.KOTA KINABALU, MALAYSIA – Coadjutor Archbishop John Wong is now Archbishop of Kota Kinabalu after the pope accepted the resignation of Archbishop John Lee on Dec 1.

Archbishop Wong’s installation ceremony is scheduled for Jan 24 at the Sacred Heart Cathedral.

When asked if he would announce any new programmes for the archdiocese, Archbishop Wong, 44, said, “At the moment, I shall focus on continuing what has already been established.”

However, in conjunction with the Year of Faith, Archbishop Wong said he wants all the activities and programmes of evangelisation in the archdiocese to promote faith and morality.

At the Synod of Bishops meeting in Rome last year, Archbishop Wong emphasised that dialogue between religions is an important agenda for the new evangelisation.

The archbishop, who is fluent in Malay, English and Chinese, also acknowledged that the rights of Christians as the minority in certain regions need first to be protected and their faith strengthened.
It is becoming increasingly difficult these days to contemplate the significance of the Holy Eucharist during Mass because of loud music during Communion.

This is not to disparage the invaluable contribution of the choir but rather to suggest improvements so that the experience of the Mass for the congregants can be further enhanced.

Though the Mass is a thanksgiving ceremony, joyous and celebratory in nature, there should not be an over-exuberance in music so as to eclipse the contemplative component, which is equally important.

Ideally, the music during Communion should be sufficiently toned down to provide a tranquil ambience to facilitate contemplation on the real presence of Christ.
Please allow me to clarify the misconceptions of Ms Estella Young (Non-biblical Traditions?, CN Jan 13) and Louis Figueroa (Not Rooted In Pagan Celebration, CN Jan 13) and to state what I wanted to say in my letter that was glossed over by your readers both in print and online.

Ms Young mentioned that “adults dress as zombies or mutilated corpses – the bloodier, the better” is not the point I’m saying.

The point I am making is that Halloween can be redeemed by going back to the early practices of our Irish Catholics and to help our children celebrate Halloween by praying for the dead as what All Saints and All Souls are all about, and that we need not be afraid of the dead as what the secular world teaches.

Secondly, all celebrations whether it be Chinese New Year or National Day (as Ms Young points out) – that “it is a time where we honour our elders, visit friends and family to spread good tidings of God’s peace and blessings, and even have a special Mass where we thank God for a good Lunar New Year ahead” – are congruous with our Catholic faith and so are teaching points for parents as first catechists.
KUANTAN, MALAYSIA – The Malaysian government has agreed to withdraw its planned acquisition of Church land in Kuantan, the head of the Church legal team announced.

Dato Bastian Vendargon told a large group of parishioners from St Thomas Church in Kuantan, led by their parish priest Fr Mitchel Anthony Joseph, of the development on Jan 11.

The group was at the Kuantan High Court for the hearing of the judicial review application by the Church against government acquisition of land on which St Thomas Secondary School is located.

This decision was recorded in court “by consent of all parties involved”, said Mr Benedict Wong, another member of the Church’s legal team.

The proposed acquisition case began after the Church received a notice from the Government Land Office.

Archbishop Nicholas Chia poses for a photo with catechists who have completed the Basic Catechist Course Level 1, at an event to launch the catechetical year.Archbishop Nicholas Chia poses for a photo with catechists who have completed the Basic Catechist Course Level 1, at an event to launch the catechetical year.

Rediscover ways in which the faith can be effectively transmitted to a new generation who live in an increasingly secularised world, Archbishop Nicholas Chia told catechetical coordinators and catechists recently.

“We cannot give what we do not have ourselves,” he told the 150 participants at a Jan 6 event to launch the new catechetical year.

“If we want to witness to the Good News we must first be its beneficiaries,” he said to the participants who came from 24 parishes.

Gerard Robert (left) and Shawn Wong started studies at the seminary on Jan 14.Gerard Robert (left) and Shawn Wong started studies at the seminary on Jan 14.

For two 20somethings, 2013 will be a lot different from previous years as they enter the St Francis Xavier Major Seminary

One felt he received the call to enter the seminary in his early 20s. The other had always wanted to be a priest since the age of five.

Both of them started their studies at the St Francis Xavier Major Seminary on Jan 14.

“God has convinced me to a point that I cannot deny it…I cannot say, ‘No, I won’t do this’,” said 29-year-old Gerard Robert. God initiated the call and all I did was to answer His call, he said.
Participants of the Lodestar Countdown pose for a photo.Participants of the Lodestar Countdown pose for a photo.Young Catholics from Blessed Sacrament Church ushered in the new year with a bang with their Lodestar Countdown event.

The night of fun and entertainment, held in the church’s Damien Hall, included a band competition and aimed to reach out to the young at heart across Singapore.
Guest-of-honour Ng Kok Song (left) and former Cabinet Minister Lim Boon Heng view exhibits at the Montfort Heritage Gallery.Guest-of-honour Ng Kok Song (left) and former Cabinet Minister Lim Boon Heng view exhibits at the Montfort Heritage Gallery.A gallery tracing the history of the Montfort Schools from their founding in 1916 by the Gabrielite Brothers was officially opened on Jan 5.

Mr Ng Kok Song, the retiring Group Chief Investment Officer of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), opened the gallery which is located at Montfort Secondary School in Hougang.

Caritas chairman George Lim speaking on social issues facing Singapore at the Come and Encounter event.Caritas chairman George Lim speaking on social issues facing Singapore at the Come and Encounter event.

A Caritas-organised event to raise awareness of social issues in Singapore was an eye-opener, say several young adults who attended it.

“I found the event enriching and informative,” said Ms Valerie Lee from the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“For a country that is so affluent I found the statistics on the poor very shocking,” she added.

Ms Lee was referring to information provided by Caritas chairman George Lim in his talk during the Come and Encounter event. Some 70 people, aged 21-35, attended the event which was aimed at young adults.
Catholic songwriter Lu Dan Yan (with hat) performing with her Crimson Bird Band on Dec 30 at Blessed Sacrament Church.Catholic songwriter Lu Dan Yan (with hat) performing with her Crimson Bird Band on Dec 30 at Blessed Sacrament Church.A Taiwanese song-writer who composes Catholic faith-inspired songs played to an audience of about 300 people at Blessed Sacrament Church’s Damien Hall on Dec 30.

Lu Dan Yan, who goes by the pen name “Crimson Bird”, performed 10 of her compositions that evening with her Crimson Bird Band, and shared the inspiration behind her works.

One of her songs, for example, Flying against the Wind, was inspired by a visit to cancer stricken patients at a hospital, she said.

From left: Louis Teo, Patricia Siswandjo and Frank Yau seen here with Assumption English School principal Mabel Leong.From left: Louis Teo, Patricia Siswandjo and Frank Yau seen here with Assumption English School principal Mabel Leong.

Malaysian Louis Teo, whose family lives in Johor Bahru, faced the prospect of a two-hour commute to school each day.

He explained that he chose to sacrifice the comforts of his home and stay at Boys’ Town as a boarder for four years so that commuting was no longer a problem.

As the main language of instruction in his primary school was not English, he had to struggle to cope with English in his early secondary years in Singapore.
Matthew Tan seen here with SJI principal Koh Thiam Seng. Tan suffered a blood clot in the brain after a judo competition in 2010 and attributes the ‘power of prayer’ to his recovery and good grades.Matthew Tan seen here with SJI principal Koh Thiam Seng. Tan suffered a blood clot in the brain after a judo competition in 2010 and attributes the ‘power of prayer’ to his recovery and good grades.Just like his classmates, Matthew Tan from St Joseph’s Institution was preparing for his O Levels in 2010.

However, his plans were abruptly halted in April that year after an accident in a judo competition caused a blood clot in his brain.

The prognosis from the doctors was bleak – he would lose his speech, walking would be difficult and sight in his left eye would be affected.

But amazingly, almost one year later in March 2011, he studied for Sec Three-level exams, battled his handicap and went on to sit for his O Levels in 2012, obtaining an aggregate score of 11 points in the process.

Subcategories