Members of the Landings community spend the Hari Raya Haji public holiday packing 750 boxes to reach out to inactive Catholics. Photo by Joyce Gan
SINGAPORE – As an Advent/Christmas project, the Landings community at Church of the Holy Spirit has prepared 750 “Christmas boxes” for parishioners to pass on to Catholics they know who are away from Church.
Inside each box is a card that introduces Landings as a ministry that welcomes inactive Catholics back to Church, a tealight candle with a sticker around it that reads, “Relight the Fire”, and an invitation to “Take a break from the world this holidays. Come home for Christmas.”
Landings is a programme that seeks to welcome returning Catholics through, primarily, a 10-week process of sharing and re-discovery of the Church; and secondarily, ministry support to help returning Catholics stay on in Church.
Currently, the ministry at the Holy Spirit parish is working to begin its fifth run in January, while Blessed Sacrament has just completed its first run.
Brother Jude David, fourth-year seminarian who was attached at the parish and involved in the ministry, had come up with the idea to “do something special for Christmas to invite the Church’s sons and daughters who have been away from Church for homecoming”.
“I hope the recipients will know the Church is thinking of them through this ministry’s efforts,” he added.
Tony See, who brought the programme from San Francisco, and coordinator of Landings at the Holy Spirit parish, said: “It’s part of a lot of us – Christian or not – to give presents at Christmas. And when Christmas comes around, we think of Jesus and the Church, especially as Catholics. It is a good time to reach out to inactive Catholics who we know are here among us.”
“For a person who may be considering returning to Church, the biggest present we can give them is the presence of Christ. This box might be the very invitation or call they are looking for to take that first step back,” he said.
The boxes were first distributed during the weekend of Dec 6, up till Christmas.
Mr See said: “If this kind of outreach reaches an inactive Catholic, it can add to their awareness that one day, even if not now, should they be ready, we are here.”
The Landings ministry at Church of the Holy Spirit invites those who are seeking to return to the Church, for an Awareness Night on Monday Dec 21 and for its new journey beginning Monday Jan 9.
By Joyce Gan