AUGUST 6, 2017, Vol 67, No 16

Roadmap to Couple Spiritual Growth

In Spanish-speaking countries there are signs along the road that say “Retorno”. It means “to get off the path and check where you are going”. As the word alludes, Marriage Retorno, a couple spirituality programme, is an opportunity for married couples and even the religious to check their spiritual “road map”. The road map is the Word of God as written in the Bible. This programme guides participants to establish God’s will for them, individually and as a couple, and to adjust the direction they are going or to confirm they are on the right road.
Here, Colin and Cheryl (not their real names) share how Retorno brought them back to where they first started serving together in a family ministry. A big U-turn after being away for eight years! They had experienced a period of dryness when routine had set in and the sense of purpose and mission was lost amidst the work. Through this weekend programme, Colin and Cheryl learnt to turn towards God as a couple again.


Marriage Retorno Weekend 2015

Come November, we would have been married for 33 years. We are blessed with three grown-up children and recently, a beautiful grandson.

We attended our original Marriage Encounter (ME) Weekend in 2002. We are still journeying with our Weekend couples in a Love Circle. We try to meet once a month and after 15 years, they are like family to us.

We first heard of Marriage Retorno from our ME circle of friends who, after attending the programme, incessantly nudged us to attend it. They said that it would make our couple relationship complete.
Vatican representative highlights this issue during regional bishops’ meeting


Archbishops and bishops of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei meeting with Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia Archbishop Joseph Marino (top of photo, in white). Canossian Sr Margarete Sta Maria was the recording secretary.

By Vincent D’Silva

JOHOR BAHRU - The Vatican’s representative to Malaysia has reminded the region’s Church leaders of the importance of reviewing the way parishes operate so as to serve people better.

Apostolic nuncio Archbishop Joseph Marino told the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei that Pope Francis faults some Church structures for people leaving the Church.

“We must recognise that if part of our baptised people lack a sense of belonging to the Church, this is also due to certain structures and the occasionally unwelcoming atmosphere of some of our parishes and communities, or to a bureaucratic way of dealing with problems,” said Archbishop Marino, quoting the pope’s words in his apostolic exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel.

Msgr Ambrose Vaz (left) and Fr Peter Zhang shovelling cement into a cavity on the roof of the building as Fr Valerian Cheong looks on.

By Jared Ng

A topping off ceremony was held to mark the completion of the physical structure of the Seminary and Formation Building.

The building, located within the compound of St Joseph’s Church (Bukit Timah), is expected to be completed by March next year.

The July 26 ceremony saw seminary rector Msgr Ambrose Vaz, archdiocesan vocation director Fr Valerian Cheong, and Fr Peter Zhang, vice-rector of the Catholic Theological Institute of Singapore (CTIS), shovelling cement into a cavity on the roof of the four-storey building.

Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Trade & Industry and Culture, Community and Youth, listening to St Anthony’s Canossian Primary School students as they explain the meaning behind some artworks.

By Jared Ng

The Canossian Sisters and three Canossian schools organised an art exhibition to celebrate racial and religious harmony in Singapore.

The three schools are St Anthony’s Canossian Primary and Secondary schools and Canossa Convent Primary School.

The Canossian Art Unites Exhibition, which had the theme Faith. Hope. Love, commemorated Racial Harmony Day and featured art works by students, teachers, Canossian Sisters, alumnae and representatives of various religious communities.
Mr and Mrs Chan gave them emotional and spiritual support


From left to right: Sr Yolandar, Ms Joan Chan, Mr Michael Chan and Fr Saw Augustine Shwe. Mr and Mrs Chan have been friends with and benefactors for the priest and nun since they were refugee children.

“I was born among the bullets,” said Fr Saw Augustine Shwe, 36.

A former child refugee from Myanmar, who recently visited Singapore for the first time, one of Fr Augustine’s earliest memories was hearing gunfire at the age of three in his native Karen state.

The Myanmar government and ethnic minority forces in Karen state, as well as other states, clashed for decades in what has been described as one of the world’s longest running civil wars.

According to news reports, it left hundreds of thousands dead or fleeing their homes as Internally Displaced Persons and refugees.