APRIL 29, 2018, Vol 68, No 09


Sr Teresa Lee, FMM, (far left), seen here with other FMM Sisters and laypeople who work in the Atelier.

By Jared Ng

Four Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM) Sisters and their five laywomen helpers perform a unique ministry at the Atelier or Workroom, located next to the FMM Convent at 49D Holland Road.

Here, they produce Church vestments: chasubles, bishop vests, copes and mitres, surplices, stoles, choir gowns and baptismal gowns. Other items include altar linens and lectern cloths, and banners for Church organisations and schools.

The late FMM Srs Lilianne Lebel, a French-Canadian, and Sr Ciro, an Italian, launched the vestry ministry in 1954. They felt that the FMM Sisters in Singapore could provide vestments for local and regional clergy as a service.

Redemptorist Fr Francis Vijayan said that ‘counselling people about marriage, addictions and other issues’ is something he enjoys as a priest.

By Jared Ng

Reflecting on his vocation since being ordained on Sept 8, 2016, Redemptorist Fr Francis Vijayan says that the priesthood “has been a growing experience,” one which has made him more aware of his “limitations”.

Some of these, he said, are whether he has lived up to the role he has been called to and if he is inspiring vocations through his work as a priest.

Others include dealing with the workload as well as people’s expectations of him as a priest.
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Fr Cornelius Ching’s advice to those thinking of joining the priesthood: ‘Be true to your heart and be ready to take that leap of faith.’

By Jared Ng

Since his ordination to the priesthood in August 2016, there have been many “ups and downs” in his vocation, says Fr Cornelius Ching.

However, “nothing has surprised me,” he said, adding that his time in the seminary benefitted him and other seminarians as they were able to “share about their pastoral experiences” after returning from respective attachments to a parish.

Fr Cornelius, 41, said he enjoys accompanying people through good and bad times, and also couples through the joys of marriage.


By Msgr Philip Heng, SJ

Being in the Easter season, our Risen Lord would perhaps wish to specially “enlighten” us with “new” perspectives of how we are living our faith and relating to Him in our daily living. A question which we could reflect on is, “Do we give God our leftover time?”

If this question evokes an immediate, “No, not me,” then let us be more open to pondering on our faith more deeply and not take the way we live our faith for granted. This is because our answer to this question reveals the quality of our relationship with Jesus.

We all have a very personal way of living our faith – whatever this may be. Some Christians may practise their faith in church and say their prayers, but such spiritual engagements are separated and have no significance to their secular living.

Ms Michelle Voo speaking at the archdiocesan-run workshop, ‘Untangling Fake News’.

By Christopher Khoo

Why is fake news a problem, and how does one manage it and stop it from spreading?

These were issues that an archdiocesan-run workshop, titled “Untangling Fake News”, addressed on April 14.

Fake news appeals to stereotypes, and people’s social prejudices and emotions, said Ms Michelle Voo, vice-president of the Catholic Lawyers’ Guild, and one of three speakers at the workshop.

Current and former school leaders cut the anniversary cake on April 6 as Fr John Bosco looks on.

In place of the 5Cs that society advocates – namely cash, credit card, condominium, car and club – young people today should cultivate compassion, chastity and character, in order to be the cornerstone of their community.

Fr John Bosco, parish priest of the Church of St Teresa, gave this suggestion to students of CHIJ St Theresa’s Convent during their 85th anniversary Mass on April 6.

Infant Jesus Sisters, members of the IJ board of management, principals of affiliated schools, ex-principals and ex-staff, as well as parents, alumni, current staff and students attended the Mass.

Franciscan Friar Julian Mariaratnam blessing the executive committee members of the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.

“God directed me to serve in this ministry although I had no knowledge or experience of migrants,” said Ms Elizabeth Tan, an Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ACMI) staff of 18 years.

She was speaking to Catholic News on April 8 at Agape Village after the thanksgiving Mass to celebrate 20 years of ACMI’s work and service.

Ms Tan noted that today, more Singaporeans are accepting of migrants and appreciative of their contributions as foreign workers, domestic helpers or foreign students.

At the April 10 interreligious event. From left: Sr Maria Lau, IJ, (chairperson of ACCIRD); Ms Tengku Suhailah binte Tengku Kamarudin (staff, Zakat and Wakaf Strategic Unit, Asset Development Cluster, Muis); Fr Avelino Marin, Opus Dei (ACCIRD member and moderator of panel discussion) and Rabbi Jean-Pierre Fettmann (Rabbi of Chesed El Synagogue).

Although there are differences in the understanding of when life begins, human life is a gift from God.

This was the agreement among three religious representatives during an April 10 interreligious panel and discussion.

Rabbi Jean-Pierre Fettmann, Ms Tengku Suhailah binte Tengku Kamarudin and Sr Maria Lau, IJ, were the three speakers from the Abrahamic faiths who spoke on the topic of birth and religious initiation in their respective religions of Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
School recently celebrated its 10th anniversary


President Halimah Yacob painting a part of an Assumption Pathway School student’s art piece during the April 13 celebration.

By Jared Ng

Through the support of Assumption Pathway School (APS), former student Muhammad Nor Bin Jasmi has become “a confident young man who firmly believes that he can go further in life with hard work and perseverance,” said President Halimah Yacob.

“He had very supportive teachers in APS who never gave up on him. They encouraged him to explore and pursue his interests,” she said during the 10th anniversary celebration of APS on April 13.

APS is a Catholic educational institution which helps students who are unable to access mainstream schools to have an education. Students at APS undergo an alternative curriculum that focuses on vocational skills which prepares them for further education at the Institute of Technical Education, according to the school’s website.

President Halimah Yacob poses for a photo with Canossian assistant head girls (from left) Alessandra Anthony, Hannah Tan and Kok Xiu Min.

Canossian school students learnt what it meant to be a leader from President Halimah Yacob and other speakers at a recent leadership symposium.

Leadership is first and foremost about service to others, Singapore’s first woman president told some 400 girls, teachers and Canossian Sisters at the opening of the Be Empowered – a Canossian Girls’ Leadership Symposium on April 4.

She reminded the girls how important it was to be always fully present in school, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Chia is joined by Cardinal Anthony Soter Fernandez of Malaysia and Archbishop William Goh as he blows out the candles on his birthday cake.

By Jared Ng

“I ask the Lord to bless all present today,” said Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Chia to thunderous applause.

He was speaking during his 80th birthday celebration held on April 7 at the Church of the Holy Cross, where he was parish priest for more than 20 years.

In the presence of fellow priests and loved ones, Archbishop Chia blew out the candles on his birthday cake and received specially-made shirts with his name embroidered on them as a present.
Retreatants looking at their artistic creations.Retreatants looking at their artistic creations.

A day of recollection for young lawyers and lawyers-to-be has left them refreshed and energised.

“I started the retreat feeling tired and desolate from work. The retreat helped me gain a sense of community,” said Ms Geraldine Yeong. “I feel really rejuvenated and hopeful about life and practice now.”

Ms Hilda Foo echoed Ms Yeong’s sentiments. “It was comforting to hear others share about their struggles,” she said. “I appreciate how my fellow Catholic lawyers try to find God in their daily lives.”

The Catholic Lawyers Guild organised the July 23 event at the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Retreat Centre.
A teacher from Kontum, Vietnam, writes on the board during a lesson conducted by members of Barré, a Singapore missionary group.A teacher from Kontum, Vietnam, writes on the board during a lesson conducted by members of Barré, a Singapore missionary group.Four missioners from Barré, an affiliate of Caritas Humanitarian Aid & Relief Initiatives, Singapore (CHARIS), travelled to Kontum, a province in Vietnam, to teach English to an ethnic minority community.

Barré is a group of Singaporean Catholic volunteers who have been working with underprivileged children in Southeast Asia since 2010.

From July 17-23, the missioners headed to Kontum, 600 km north of Ho Chin Minh City, to reach out to the Bahnah community through education to give them hope of better opportunities in life.

The missioners conducted English lessons and teachers’ training sesssions daily for local teachers during their stay.
The Daughters of St Paul share their recipes in a cookbook. From left: Sr Aeran Kim, Sr Karen Eng, Sr Wendy Ooi, Sr Lorenzina Nota, Sr Clare Choo,  Sr Theresa Lim and Sr Jocelyn Veritas Kwek.The Daughters of St Paul share their recipes in a cookbook. From left: Sr Aeran Kim, Sr Karen Eng, Sr Wendy Ooi, Sr Lorenzina Nota, Sr Clare Choo, Sr Theresa Lim and Sr Jocelyn Veritas Kwek.

The Daughters of St Paul are releasing a cookbook containing various recipes from the Sisters.

Titled Taste of Heaven, the cookbook was scheduled to be launched on Aug 13 at a fundraising dinner, to aid the building fund for a new convent for the Sisters.

The book offers recipes of local delights, ranging from Peranakan to Teochew and Hokkien dishes, among others.

Sr Wendy Ooi, superior of the Daughters of St Paul in Singapore, and Sr Jocelyn Kwek share a hearty selection of home-style recipes.
Daughters of St Paul Sisters and laypeople preparing food at the carnival held on July 31. Photos: LAWRENCE YAPDaughters of St Paul Sisters and laypeople preparing food at the carnival held on July 31. Photos: LAWRENCE YAP

“It is very inspiring and encouraging to experience the solidarity of the various Religious congregations, coming together to share their blessings with their fellow Religious,” said Daughter of St Paul Sr Jocelyn Kwek.

She was referring to the Church of St Ignatius Carnival on July 31. Various Religious gathered to man food and game stalls to raise funds for the Cenacle Sisters and Daughters of St Paul in need of a new home. 
Participants of the July 30 interfaith learning journey pose for a photo with parish priest Fr Michael Sitaram in front of the Church of St Vincent de Paul.Participants of the July 30 interfaith learning journey pose for a photo with parish priest Fr Michael Sitaram in front of the Church of St Vincent de Paul.

The Church of St Vincent de Paul hosted 150 participants from Cheng San for an interfaith visit on July 30.

The event was organised by the Cheng San-Seletar Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle (IRCC) and aimed to increase participants’ awareness of the various religions in Singapore as well as how places of worship are extending a hand to the community around them.

Arriving in four buses, the participants were ushered by church wardens into the nave of the church where they were welcomed by parish priest, Fr Michael Sitaram, and members of the parish pastoral council (PPC).

‘I know that there are women out there in our churches who are suffering silently,  as I did, and are  in terrible pain.  You are not alone.’ – ‘Katherine White’‘I know that there are women out there in our churches who are suffering silently, as I did, and are in terrible pain. You are not alone.’ – ‘Katherine White’A woman shares how she overcame decades of emotional pain after an abortion, and found healing and mercy in the Church

BACK in 1974, a year after abortion was fully legalised in the United States, Katherine White (not her real name) was enjoying her senior year of college. Her parents were proudly anticipating her graduation; she would be the first college graduate in the family.

Then she started throwing up, and eventually missed a period. So she walked into a clinic for a blood pregnancy test. It was positive.

“When I found myself pregnant, I was in denial,” she said. “I was frightened. I was too ashamed to tell my parents.” Yet White assumed her boyfriend would support her. They would get married and have the baby.

“He didn’t want anything to do with it,” she told The Catholic Accent, newspaper of the Diocese of Greensburg.
Mr Nick Chui’s article, Gender Theory: A Questionable View Of The Human Person” (CN, July 10), clearly and concisely explains the problems with the modern idea that one’s identity can be entirely self-constructed, even if completely at odds with biological reality.
CN, July 10CN, July 10

The idea that “I can do, or be, anything if I put my mind to it” encourages people to strive for excellence and break down barriers.

But applying this individualistic mindset blindly to all areas of life – in particular, vocation and human relationships – is a recipe for disaster when it reduces those around us to objects that exist to fulfil our desires.

A woman cannot become a wife or mother “by herself” – she needs a man to marry her, and to father her children.
Fr Cornelius Ching, ordained on Aug 9, shares with CatholicNews his journey to the priesthood

Fr Cornelius Ching poses for a photo with Archbishop William Goh and family members. He was ordained at the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.Fr Cornelius Ching poses for a photo with Archbishop William Goh and family members. He was ordained at the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“To help people experience the love and mercy of God, to bring the community together,” said Fr Cornelius Ching when asked about his aspirations as a priest.

The 39-year-old was ordained on Aug 9 at the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In his speech after the ordination Mass, he thanked all who helped him through his seminarian journey and gave special thanks to his family for their “unending support and love”.

The newly ordained priest then approached his parents, his younger brother who is a teacher, and his grandmother seated in the first pew, and blessed them.
The contingent, called W4, visited various churches and learned about the universality of faith

W4 pilgrims pose for a group photo with pilgrims from Egypt, the US and South Africa alongside their hosts and pilgrimage coordinators from the Polish diocese of Rumia on July 24. W4 pilgrims pose for a group photo with pilgrims from Egypt, the US and South Africa alongside their hosts and pilgrimage coordinators from the Polish diocese of Rumia on July 24.

July 19
  • Arrived in Warsaw, Poland
  • Visited the St Maximilian Kolbe Shrine and Monastery in Niepokalanów
  • Visited Church of St Anne in Old Town, Warsaw
After checking in the hostel, we travelled to the St Maximilian Kolbe shrine.

It was beautiful and inspiring for me, personally, to revisit St Maximilian’s life. He is, after all, the patron saint of journalists, and I am one by profession.