Banner at the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.Banner at the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.By the time you read this, red-and-white banners would have gone up at all parishes here asking parishioners to pray for the nation.

As part of the archdiocese’s SG50 celebrations, each parish is being asked to pray for “joy” and another fruit of the Holy Spirit throughout 2015.

In addition to joy, the other fruits are peace, charity, goodness, modesty, patience, kindness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity. Joy is the mainstay because it expresses the essence of the occasion, and the word is part of the archdiocese’s SG50 logo.

Some parishes are already getting into the groove of the initiative.

Fr Terence Kesavan, assistant parish priest of the Church of Divine Mercy, said he will be asking parishioners to pray for the special intentions over the Pentecost weekend. “It is an appropriate time since we can link it to the fruits of the Holy Spirit on that day. Our parish will be praying for joy and generosity,” he said.

“Many in our parish are excited with the SG50 Mass and already some are enquiring about tickets,” he added.

Other parishes are still working out ways to implement the prayers. Fr Andrew Wong, parish priest of the Church of The Holy Spirit, said he will be working out a plan with his parish’s liturgical committee.
The Catholic SG50 banner displayed outside the Church of the Risen Christ.The Catholic SG50 banner displayed outside the Church of the Risen Christ.

Mrs Kelly Gan, whose parish of Christ the King has been assigned “joy” and “peace”, said, “It’s a good way to rally Catholics to do our part and contribute purposefully for the welfare of our nation.  We must make a difference.”

Besides incorporating these intentions into the Prayer of the Faithful, Mr Paul Tan, a member of the archdiocese’s SG50 organising committee, also gave the following suggestions:

“Those who have been asked to pray for “charity” can, besides praying for Singaporeans to be more charitable, organise a charity drive by asking parishioners to donate foodstuff that can then be distributed to the poor living within their parish boundaries. Or those who have the word “generosity” on their banners could think of visiting a home for the aged and spending time with them. They are thus being generous with their time.”

Fr Derrick Yap, organising committee chairman, added that it is only right for Catholics to render a spiritual dimension to the national celebration. “I am confident that the different parishes will come up with novel ways to adopt these assigned fruits in prayer as well as in other creative expressions among ministries and church groups,” he said.

Creative ways to pray

Some creative ideas to adopt in praying for the fruits of the Holy Spirit:
  • Incorporate them in each Sunday’s Prayer of the Faithful, but with different aspects. For example, to pray for “chastity”, the prayer can be worded like this:  “For the young of Singapore, we pray that they may embrace the discipline of chastity in every area of their life.” On another weekend, the prayer can be: “For parents of Singapore, that they may be models of chastity for their children.”

  • Invite every ministry, group or catechism class to come up with a Prayer of the Faithful based on the fruit and then use it on different Sundays.

  • Google the particular fruit in Bible websites for various verses on it.  For example, if your parish is assigned “modesty”, type “Bible verses about modesty” and you will find many examples and situations where the word is used. Then take a particular verse for prayer, reflection or whatever appropriate action you may wish to adopt.  Different verses can be applied for each week.

  • Express the fruits in action within ministries, groups, catechism classes, etc.  For example, if the fruit is “self-control”, offer a fast (not necessarily from food); for “kindness”, you can set out to do extra acts of courtesy each week.

  • Organise an essay competition or a catechism class project on the fruits,  such as “How can I live out peace in 10 ways?” Or for the older ones, “Is peace merely the absence of war?”

  • For the more creative ones, you can organise an art competition for parishioners to express the two fruits in art, sculpture, floral arrangement, papier mache, etc. They can then be exhibited on a special parish occasion.
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