Left: Redemptorist Fr Glenn de Cruz speaking to a family during a home visit.

Varied responses emerge as Divine Mercy Church conducts parish mission

The two-year-old Church of Divine Mercy in Pasir Ris is now conducting a parish mission to build up the Catholic community in the area.

Since January, eight to 10 Redemptorists, together with priests of the parish, Fr Johnson Fernandez and Fr Ignatius Yeo, have been visiting families from Mondays to Thursdays.

“When building the physical church, the parish council decided to also build the Christian community living in Pasir Ris,” said Fr Fernandez.

Each priest or Religious Brother visits four to five families at a time. Parishioners are also asked if they would be interested to start Neighbourhood Christian Communities (NCC).

Right: Fr Peter Wee (left) prays with a resident and her friends.

Families are then invited to attend a group Mass that Friday, in which they share their views with one another, facilitated by the priest or Brother who had visited them earlier in the week.

The parish mission has so far reached out to 1,400 families and several hundred more are expected to be visited before the programme concludes at the end of May, said Fr Fernandez.

Responses to NCCs have been varied among the parishioners, who live in HDB flats, condominiums and private housing.

“It’s hard to get people together especially with our busy schedules of work and family,” said Mrs Geraldine Mak, when the team visited her family.

“I would consider being in an NCC,” Ms Lilian Chan told CatholicNews after the visit. “However now is not a good time for me because I have too many commitments with two young kids, full-time work and also being part of the children’s liturgy in church.”

Ms Charlotte Stephen, on the other hand, said her family “exchanged contact details with another family in the hope of starting an NCC”.

“They also have kids around the same age group as mine, so we hope it’s a good fit. We would like to know this family socially first to break the ice before we start praying together,” said Ms Stephen, who has two young sons.

“We need someone to lead if we were to start an NCC,” another parishioner, Mr Johnathan Wong, shared. “There have to be guidelines and structure on what we are to do.”

During a group discussion on March 30, many echoed parishioner Susan Peh’s view that “a parish is about community and not just a building for worship”.

Redemptorist Fr Glenn de Cruz also suggested the possibility of building small Christian communities, based on common interests, in addition to NCCs.

A Preach Mission Week, scheduled for April 9-15, has also been planned as part of the parish mission. Masses are celebrated with a special theme, such as One in Unity in the Family, and One in the Church.

“There are going to be several follow-ups after the parish mission,” said Fr Fernandez. “Our Parish Pastoral Council will be collating the comments and needs that our parishioners shared with us, and we will look at addressing those needs.”

By Martin See
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