MAY 01, 2016, Vol 66, No 09

Q: We have celebrated Good Friday and it brought up a question I had been wanting to ask for a long time. Why is Good Friday not a Holy Day of Obligation? Surely, the fulfilment of God’s work on redemption was an epic event in history worthy of the glory, as the Ascension was. - Anthony Oei, Singapore

A: The Church gives us a list of days and feasts which are liturgically the most important in terms of ranking, and this is found in the Table of Liturgical Days in the General Roman Calendar. It lists the Easter Triduum as the first and most important in terms of eminence.

In an article on the Spirituality of the Seasons, Franciscan priest and liturgist Fr Thomas Richstatter wrote on the need to understand the essential difference between a list of obligations and a list of what is most important.This appeared in an article printed in the St Anthony’s Messenger, April 1995.

In it, Fr Richstatter rightly explained that just because the days of the Triduum are not made obligatory does not mean that they are not important days. They are, and they are eminently important enough to rank at the top of the table of Liturgical Days. The solemnity of Easter, he says, has same kind of preeminence that Sundays have.
Left: Participants at the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family (ACF) Family Partners’ Empowerment event. Right: Fr Terence Pereira speaking during the April 16 event.Left: Participants at the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family (ACF) Family Partners’ Empowerment event. Right: Fr Terence Pereira speaking during the April 16 event.

“We have all been called to be the alternative voice; the counter-culture. We need to bring God’s healing love to hurting marriages and families,” said Ms Cyrine Gregory, Marriage Encounter co-ordinator.

She was commenting on the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family (ACF) Family Partners’ Empowerment event at the Catholic Spirituality Centre on April 16.

The event, attend by 300 Family Partner leaders, was a follow up of an ACF networking session on March 19 that aimed to synergise outreach efforts to families.

During the April 16 event, Fr Terence Pereira, Episcopal Vicar of the New Evangelisation, shared the importance of an intimate encounter with Christ as the basis of the ministries’ mission to empower families. This encounter had to be nurtured through prayer, scripture and the Eucharist. Otherwise, they will not only lose the focus of their mission, but also find themselves lacking the motivation and strength to serve.
A resident of St Joseph’s Home admires a handcrafted gift from students of Magdalene’s Kindergarten during their recent visit. A resident of St Joseph’s Home admires a handcrafted gift from students of Magdalene’s Kindergarten during their recent visit.

Cheery, exuberant children stole the hearts of St Joseph’s Home residents recently as they sang, danced and gave away special handmade gifts to their appreciative audience.

The 70 kids from the Canossian-run Magdalene’s Kindergarten sang hymns and Easter songs, and danced to popular songs from the 1960s to the 1980s at the home located at Mandai Estate on April 19.

Their handcrafted gifts included an Easter cross, a tealight holder that proclaimed that Jesus had risen, and a card that said “Jesus Loves You”.

“I enjoyed making the gifts for the grandmas and grandpas,” said six-year-old Jing Yuan.

“I want to make them feel happy so that they know Jesus loves them,” said five-year-old Cedro.
Seminarians (left, in white cassocks), priests and laypeople attend the Mass for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations at the Church of St Ignatius. Photo: CHURCH OF ST IGNATIUSSeminarians (left, in white cassocks), priests and laypeople attend the Mass for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations at the Church of St Ignatius. Photo: CHURCH OF ST IGNATIUS

The priesthood is the “mother of all vocations” because the priesthood generates other vocations for the Church, said Archbishop William Goh.

“Without the priest, who is going to give you the bread of life? Without the priest, who is going to heal you in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and empower you?” he asked during a Mass to mark the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

Speaking to Religious, seminarians and laypeople gathered at the Church of St Ignatius on April 16, he urged Catholics to pray for more priestly and Religious vocations, “otherwise the future of the next generation will be compromised”.

Archbishop Goh expressed his worry at the dwindling number of priestly vocations in the archdiocese, adding that the next bishop “is going to suffer” because of a lack of priests to manage parishes.

“You need to pray for vocations for the sake of your children,” he said.
Many a starry-eyed couple enters into marriage on cloud nine, thinking that love conquers all - only to be rudely awakened by the stark reality that marriage is no bed of roses. To augment existing marriage preparation programmes in the diocese, the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family (ACF) will be launching its Couple Mentoring Journey (CMJ) later this year, where older married couples journey with newly married ones for a short period. Jeanette Alexander asks young couples and potential couple mentors for their thoughts.

Is there ever a perfect marriage?

Colin and Audra with their children (from left) Keisha, John-Paul and KaylaColin and Audra with their children (from left) Keisha, John-Paul and Kayla
There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, according to 41-year old Colin Yeow, who is married to Audra Lim, 37. “And couple mentoring is a very concrete way of understanding this reality,” he adds. The couple, who have been married for 10 years, felt a mutual prompting to answer the call to be couple mentors in the CMJ programme a few months ago.
 
“We dated for six-and-a-half years before getting married and felt we knew all there was to know about each other. But married life is different. There was a lot of adjusting and dying to self that had to be done,” says Audra.

She recalls that the initial years were even more challenging when their two children came along. “What helped us stay sane was meeting other marrieds and hearing about their very similar struggles with their spouses and children. And then we felt normal,” she reveals, citing the confidence they garnered just by knowing that other couples went through similar circumstances and overcame them.

“We have our own marriage battle scars and we know that in the lowest of the low moments, it can seem quite impossible for a marriage to recover… but it does – with prayer, lots of effort and making a constant choice to choose love. We want to help other young marrieds know that it is worth the journey,” says Audra, who feels that the time she is supposed to set aside for the CMJ progamme is manageable, even with three young children.