A series of activities to mark Catholic High anniversary
A Mass was held concurrently for primary and secondary sections at Catholic High Founder’s Day celebration.
The unfurling of a banner by Fr Henry Siew set off a line up of activities to mark the 83rd Founder’s Day celebrations at Catholic High School in Bishan.
The celebrations, held from Oct 8-13, with the theme “ConneXions” set the students on the path to learn the milestones in the school’s 83 years of achievements.
For students in the primary school section, they were given quizzes to help them learn more about the late Fr
Edward Becheras, who established Catholic High School (CHS) in 1935.
They took turns to visit the statue of Fr Becheras to learn about his life and contributions. Guided tours were also conducted by teachers at the Galerie Evergreen which is the school’s heritage gallery.
At the secondary school section, the celebration also began with quizzes held during morning assemblies.
Students were also given a presentation of Fr Becheras life story in the form of a skit. There was also the
“Amazing Race” – a discovery trail of key sites in the school including the Galerie Evergreen.
The graduating cohort also collated photos and designed class tiles to depict their collective legacy and aspirations – just like what past graduates had done.
The highlight of the celebrations was the unveiling of the school mascot, a life size “Panthera Catholicus” (a dark green panther), mooted and conceptualised by student leaders with inputs from the school-wide student population. The panther was chosen as a mascot because of it traits, namely, courage, loyalty, love and brotherhood.
The combined school events culminated in the Founder’s Day thanksgiving and Eucharistic celebration held concurrently in both primary and secondary schools on Oct 12. At the primary school, Fr Paul Lim presided over the Eucharistic celebration while Fr Henry Siew was at the secondary school celebration.
On Oct 13, the Catholic High Alumni held its annual gathering at Ban Heng restaurant at HarbourFront where they reminisced about the old days in CHS and had dinner and fellowship.
Secondary school students working on a quiz as part of the celebrations.
CHS pastoral programme
In conjunction with its focus on the student’s holistic growth and spiritual development, the CHS pastoral programme is run in alignment with the Church’s liturgical calendar. For example, the school will hold Easter celebrations, rosary prayers in the months of May and October and Stations of the Cross during Lent.
These are often run with the help of parent volunteers and parent support groups, who are the cornerstones of many partnerships.
The spirituality programme is headed by the School Chaplaincy team chaired by Fr Henry Siew with Fr Joe Lopez as chaplain. Together with the School Management Committee, they continue to build the Catholic faith education within the school. For example, chapel sessions are held every alternate Tuesdays and Fridays for the lower and upper Primary respectively. Hands-on programmes in arts and craft, parable reflections and praise and worship engage students so as to form a deeper understanding on the faith.
This is further strengthened by the weekly Jesus & I sessions. In the secondary school section, the Catholic students and those who are interested in deepening their faith can attend weekly Religious Moral Education sessions conducted by teachers. They also have a choice of attending twice-weekly sessions with the Young Christians Society (YCS) facilitated by mentors from YCS. Masses are held every other week to allow students to appreciate the Catholic liturgical life.
Students across all levels are exposed to the Spirituality Education programme crafted from the seven themes of Catholic Social Teachings on matters of human dignity, common good in society, social organisation and concern for social justice. This is to help them to understand the challenge of living responsibly and building a just society.
A number of students and their families have been led to the faith through the school’s pastoral programmes. Take the story of Dominic Halim, 16, who was baptised during Easter this year at the Church of the Holy Cross.
Dominic was inspired during one of the school’s penitential services ministered to the students. He then sought to find out more about the faith and eventually received catechetical instructions from his Catholic teachers.
Another story is the Teo family who were touched by life in a Catholic school. Mr Charles Teo, his wife Catherine and their son, Cavan, had no prior knowledge of Catholicism. It was by chance that Cavan registered in CHS, and returned home after school one day and asked his parents about the “Jesus & I” lessons. His poignant question, “Mummy, where will you be if I go to Heaven next time?” set off much self-reflection for his parents about the religion.
This then led to Cavan attending catechism classes at the Church of St Francis Xavier. Three years later, his parents joined the RCIA and the whole family was eventually baptised during Easter.