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2 Asians among new cardinals created VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict

XVI has created 22 new cardinals from 13 countries – including two from Asia – placing red hats on their heads and calling them to lives of even greater love and service to the church. The churchmen who joined the College of Cardinals during the Feb 18 ceremony included Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong and Major Archbishop Mar George Alencherry of the Syro Malabar Church in India. In their ¿rst of¿cial act in their new role, the new cardinals were asked to join their peers in giving the pope their opinion, in writing, on the canonisation of seven new saints, including Blessed Pedro Calungsod of the Philippines. The pope announced at the consistory that the canonisation ceremony would be celebrated on Oct 21 at the Vatican. St Peter’s Basilica was ¿lled to overÀowing for the ceremony, and several thousand people sat in a sunny St Peter’s Square watching on large video screens. Choirs from New York and from several Italian dioceses provided music for the service. At the end of the ceremony, the College of Cardinals had 213 members, 125 of whom were under the age of 80 and, therefore, eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope. The consistory took the form of a prayer service. After the Gospel reading, the pope said the new cardinals “will be called to consider and evaluate the events, the problems and the pastoral criteria which concern the mission of the entire Church”. He asked them “to serve the Church with love and vigour, with the transparency and wisdom of teachers, with the energy and strength of shepherds, with the ¿delity and courage of martyrs”.

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INSIDE HOME Kids and Eucharistic adoration Priest shows how to spark their interest „ Page 2

HOME Mother Teresa home moves to Jurong More volunteers needed „ Page 5

HOME Judging movies in Iran Pope Benedict XVI concelebrates a Mass with cardinals in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Feb 19. He created 22 new cardinals during a consistory the previous day. CNS photos

New cardinals John Tong Hon of Hong Kong and George Alencherry of India.

The pope also stressed that love and service, not self-interest, are to mark their lives as cardinals. “Dominion and service, egoism and altruism, possession and gift, self-interest and gratuitousness: These profoundly contrasting approaches confront each other in every age and place,” he said. In all things, the new cardinals are called to “an absolute and un-

conditional love” for their brothers and sisters, even unto the “shedding” of blood, if necessary, a fact underlined by the red colour of the cardinal’s biretta – a three-cornered hat – and the red cardinal’s robes. In an interview with the Catholic news agency, AsiaNews, prior to the consistory, Bishop Tong, 72, described himself as “unworthy” of the position to which the

pope has called him. He said he is “full of gratitude for this honour” that the pope has bestowed on the Chinese Church. There are now three Chinese cardinals – Cardinal Tong, Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong and Cardinal Paul Shan of Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Cardinal Tong says they can “work together”, especially in strengthening the connection between Chinese Catholics and the Universal Church. Major Archbishop Alencherry told UCANEWS.COM ahead of his entrance into the College of Cardinals that he is “searching [for] what I can do for the Church, especially at the universal level”. He said that though Christians in India are a small minority – Catholics account for only 1.9 percent of the population – their strong faith can send a strong message to the whole Church. “The tradition is strong, the faithful are ready to pay any price for their being Catholic,” he said. „ CNS

A S’porean shares her experience „ Page 6

ASIA VaticanVietnam ties Relations between the two ‘improving’ „ Page 8

WORLD Ex-Anglicans in Rome Pilgrimage celebrates their entrance into Catholic Church „ Page 11

WORLD Olympics in London Catholics urged to house athletes, family members „ Page 12


Sunday March 11, 2012 „ CatholicNews

Getting kids, youths interested in adoration ,W¡VQRWDVGLIĂ€FXOWDVRQHWKLQNVVD\V)U$QWRLQH7KRPDVZKRSURPRWHVFKLOGUHQ¡V(XFKDULVWLFDGRUDWLRQ “You see, they put Jesus in that little box over there and He’s all alone. Can you tell your mommy, ‘After we Âżnish our shopping, can we drop by the church to visit Jesus in His little box?’â€? This was one intriguing suggestion Fr Antoine Thomas gave on how adults can get children interested in Eucharistic adoration. The priest, from the Community of St John, was speaking to more than 120 young Catholics at the Catholic Archdiocesan Youth Centre on Feb 13. During the evening session, titled Adoration Before The Blessed Sacrament For Youth Leaders, Fr Thomas showed how easy it is to teach young children, especially those preparing to receive their First Holy Communion, to adore the Blessed Sacrament. His demonstration included instructing kids on how to sit and kneel before the Blessed Sacrament and how to make a simple prayer to Jesus. “Pray, ‘Jesus, in the little tabernacle of my heart, I adore you and I thank you for coming into my heart,’â€? shared the priest, who has been promoting Eucharistic adoration for young people for 15 years. Fr Thomas, who is based in Christchurch, New Zealand, is Âżrm in his belief that children are much more capable of appreciating the Blessed Sacrament than most adults would think. “If you teach children how to pray, that will teach you how to pray,â€? he said. Fr Thomas’ session at the CAYC was just one of many that he gave to various Catholic groups in the archdiocese, including schools, catechists, parents and children, from Feb 9-17. The priest is the founder of the Children of Hope, a worldwide movement of children’s Eucharistic adoration. He was in Singapore for a short visit in April 2010 during which he shared the importance of Eucharistic adoration for children. Since then, this has taken roots

in four parishes – St Bernadette, Christ the King, St Ignatius and Divine Mercy.

Reaching out to students During his recent trip, organised by the Archdiocesan Children Eucharistic Adoration Ministry, Fr Thomas also conducted workshops in Catholic schools such as St Patrick’s, Catholic High and De La Salle. Students from Pri Three to Sec Five attended the workshops, which usually lasted for about an hour. These began with Fr Thomas engaging the students in a dialogue, explaining about Christ’s real presence and the importance of connecting with Him through the Eucharist. The priest explained what to do in front of the tabernacle and the postures to take. Then, accompanied by soft instrumental music, the children either knelt or prostrated in silence. He also encouraged the students to visit the Eucharist outside of Sunday Mass to talk to Jesus. John Brian Nayar a Sec Four student from St Patrick’s School said he found the session reverent and felt that it would be nice to have it once a month. Daryl Kok, a Sec Two student from Catholic High School, said it gave one the opportunity to encounter Jesus. Fr Thomas also conducted a re-

Fr Antoine Thomas speaking to students of De La Salle School during his recent trip to Singapore.

treat from Feb 11-12 for more than 200 catechists and parents, including several participants from Malaysia and Hong Kong. The event was held at the Church of the Holy Spirit. The priest shared that it is important to have time for quiet and solitude, to reconnect with Jesus and oneself. This is especially urgent when people are now prone to constantly check their computers, iPhones and iPads, and children are often

left to their own devices – literally – such as video games, the Internet, TV and iPod, all of which often leave one’s soul empty. On engaging children in adoration, he noted that young children are often inÀuenced by example, such as adults’ genuÀecting and keeping a reverential silence when entering a church. Preparing children outside the chapel and processing them in, explaining gestures such as genu-

If you teach ‘children how to pray, that will teach you how to pray.


– Fr Antoine Thomas

The parish has a young adults group called iAdore, which holds monthly Eucharistic adoration sessions. “The search for love and the search for truth are absolutely essential for the young adult,â€? the priest said. “Be in love with Jesus and all the rest will Ă€ow from that friendship with Jesus. What is proper to the wise man is the order, and if we put Jesus Âżrst in our daily life, everything will be pleasing to God.â€? Many participants said they felt energised by the two-hour session. Civil servant Pearl Chan, 27, described her experience as “awesome and a good time of consolidationâ€?, while Mr Ong Zhenxi, 28, a catechumen from the parish of St Francis Xavier said his experience was “profound and beautifulâ€?. REPORTING BY: CAYC, MICHELLE PNG, DON GURUGAY AND REMIGIUS D’SOUZA

Ă€ection and describing sacred objects on the altar such as the monstrance help make the faith come alive, he said.

Youths and young adults Members of the Catholic Archdiocesan Youth Centre’s School of Witness speaking to Fr Thomas on Feb 13.

On Feb 1, Fr Thomas led a time of prayerful contemplation for some 200 youths and young adults at the Church of the Holy Spirit.

The Archdiocesan Children’s Eucharistic Adoration (email: childreneucharisticadora@gmail. com) is held every last Friday of the month (7.45-9pm) at the Church of the Holy Spirit. It has a regular attendance of about 50 children, accompanied by their parents or catechists from parishes across the archdiocese. „

ARCHBISHOP’S DIARY Mar 4 2.30pm Mar 11 3.30pm

Church of St Michael: Mass – Rite of Election (Mandarin) Church of the Holy Spirit Mass – Indonesian Community


Sunday March 11, 2012 „ CatholicNews

Intercessors needed for Serra Club project

Serra Club of Singapore is taking part in an initiative to thank God for the gift of priesthood as well as show support for clergy.

By Darren Boon The Serra Club of Singapore is participating in an international yearlong project to pray for priests. Serra International’s “Pray for Priests Year 2012” initiative is to thank God for the gift of priesthood to the Church as well as show appreciation and support for priests, says the organisation’s website. Serra International promotes priestly vocations and supports priests in their ministry. The Prayer for Priests initiative involves the formation of teams of prayer intercessors with a minimum of seven people each to pray for one particular priest daily. Each intercessor prays for that priest by name throughout the year by offering and attending a Mass specially for this purpose at least once a week. The intercessor will also pray the rosary and a chaplet of the Divine Mercy daily for the priest.

The team may inform the priest concerned that they are praying for him if they wish to. Intercessors are also encouraged to go the extra mile by making sacri¿ces such as fasting. They may also attend a Holy Hour or go for Eucharistic adoration, says the Serra International website. The Serra Club of Singapore says it hopes each priest in the archdiocese will have at least one team praying for him. So far, the club has managed to gather 420 intercessors. This covers about 60 priests. More prayer intercessors are needed as there are more than 100 priests in the archdiocese.

“I am very encouraged by the support that we have received thus far,” said Mr Sean Yeo, president of the Serra Club of Singapore. “I hope more will come forward to join us.” Ms Josephine Liow, who was invited to be a prayer intercessor, said she agreed to be one as praying for priests is “something natural for Catholics”. She added that she does not regard the commitment required as a big sacri¿ce. To enquire about being a prayer intercessor, email or call 6745 1691. „


Sunday March 11, 2012 „ CatholicNews

Safe environment Sr Jo: A woman in Church ministry for others OBITUARY

The Archdiocese of Singapore has put in place a Professional Standards Of¿ce (PSO) for the purpose of fostering a safe environment for children and young persons and protecting them from sexual abuse and harassment. The primary focus of the PSO, which was set up on Oct 1, 2011, is to safeguard children. The archdiocese recently promulgated two documents with guidelines to a safe environment for our children and young persons. Entitled “Keeping Communion” and “Restoring Communion”, the documents are to assist all Catholic clergy, Religious as well as employees and volunteers of the Church, to adopt principles and behavioural standards for conduct when dealing with

The archdiocese has released two documents on fostering a safe environment for children and young persons.

children and young persons. “Restoring Communion” is also a document of principles and procedures in responding to complaints of sexual abuse or harassment of a minor. It seeks to ensure a fair, accountable and transparent process to address any serious complaint. The guidelines promulgated by Archbishop Nicholas Chia are to ensure that everyone who par-

ticipates in ministry in the Church can be helped to ensure a safe environment for our children. The guidelines include behavioural guides and principles for code of conduct as well as protocols for receiving complaints, if any. Work on developing guidelines for nurturing a safe environment began about one and half years ago and was further validated seven months ago when the Vatican asked bishops’ conferences around the world to submit guidelines for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors. The role of the PSO will be to assist all clergy, Religious, employees and volunteers in our parishes and diocesan organisations to provide safeguarding for our children. Protecting our children is the concern and responsibility of everyone in the Church and the PSO will help in the systematic implementation of the guidelines and promote them through education, training and brie¿ngs. „

Infant Jesus (IJ) Sister Josephine Healy passed away peacefully at the IJ Sisters’ nursing home in Cork, Ireland, on Dec 17, 2011. She was 92. The Infant Jesus Sisters are inviting all who know Sr Josephine, who served at CHIJ Katong, to a memorial Mass celebrating her life at the Church of the Holy Family, Katong, on Sat, March 17 at 9 am. Ever since former students and friends of Sr Josephine heard of her return to God, heartfelt tributes have been pouring in to the IJ Sisters. All speak of a Sister who lit up their childhood, a Sister whose love of life, sense of fun and capacity to reach out to each one in a special way made childhood and later adulthood a treasured experience. Sr Jo, as she was fondly called, was born in Tralee, Ireland, and on completing her training as a teacher and specialist in Speech and Drama, came to Singapore. As a teacher, she had the special gift of engaging children and exploring with them so many creative areas which brought delight to life in school. Some speak of how they grew in sensitivity as she held Literature lessons on Katong beach, where, under her guidance, their eyes opened to the wonder of creation. Sister’s many gifts of dance, song, drama, love of poetry and Literature brought life to her les-

Sr Jo seen here with other IJ nuns LQWKLV¿OHSKRWR

IJ Sr Josephine Healy passed away on Dec 17. A memorial Mass will be held for her on March 17.

sons and left a lasting impact on those fortunate enough to have been taught by her. Her generosity of spirit knew no bounds and calls for help were always answered, whether convenient or not. The wellspring of this generosity came from her deep faith which embraced all who crossed her path. Her compassion was extended to all in need and the pain of many a complicated life was eased by her empathy, the deep concern which she communicated, and the hope she radiated. To come in contact with Sr Jo was to be aware of the joy and love which characterised her personality. No one tribute could capture the rich tapestry of inÀuence which Sister had in all her encounters. She loved people and had an inimitable capacity to bring out what was best in children especially. We mourn Sister’s passing but thank God for the rich blessing of her life. Her closing years were spent in the peace and beauty of the IJ Sisters’ nursing home in Cork, Ireland, where so many Singaporeans visited her to express their love and gratitude. May Sr Josephine rest in peace. „ CONTRIBUTED BY THE IJ SISTERS


Sunday March 11, 2012 „ CatholicNews

Mother Teresa home moves to Jurong area Archbishop Nicholas Chia, together with Sr Mary Treslin (left), head of the Missionaries of Charity’s Gift of Love Home, and regional superior Sr John Vianny, cutting a cake to celebrate the new facility for the needy.

The Testify to Love rally held at Catholic Junior College on Feb 18.

By Darren Boon The Missionaries of Charity’s (MC) Gift of Love Home relocated from the Marymount area to Boon Lay in early February. Archbishop Nicholas Chia blessed the home during a Mass on Feb 18. The new facility, which currently houses 30 residents, can accommodate up to 50. Sr Mary Treslin, the superior and head of the home, said the home plans to increase the number of residents, who are mostly referred by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) through social workers’ recommendations. She said she is happy with the bigger premises and is grateful to volunteers for making the move a smooth one. With the move, the Sisters have had to discontinue their work with the poor in the Toa Payoh, Ang Mo Kio and Sin Ming areas. They had visited needy families there and provided them with food. While the nuns ¿nd it sad to leave areas they had served in for years, Sr Treslin said the they will now focus their efforts and “give priority” to Jurong residents, many of whom are in need. While some of the home’s residents have embraced their new premises with joy, others are still adjusting to the new environment, said Sr Treslin. “The atmosphere is different,”

Youths learn how to be Christian witnesses

The new building in Boon Lay.

said Mr Teo, a resident. He told CatholicNews that the residents used to sleep in one big room in the previous home, but with the move, they are now spread out across smaller rooms. He was also concerned that some of his friends may ¿nd it more dif¿cult to visit him as the new home is less conveniently located than the previous one. Nevertheless, he said he is grateful for the bigger space and the better facilities the new home offers. Benefactors have donated new furniture to the home, which also has a kitchen ¿tted to commercial standards. Another resident, Ms Rita Chew, said she likes the new home as it is nicer and bigger. Although its location is less accessible than the previous one, volunteers are still quite happy to come and serve here, said Sr Treslin.

She noted that two parishioners from the nearby Church of St Francis of Assisi have signed up as volunteers after the parish put out an appeal. The nun has also appealed to people in the Jurong/Boon Lay and western areas to volunteer at the home. One regular volunteer, Ms Maureen Lim, who lives in Serangoon, said that getting to the new home is now a bit of a challenge for her. Nevertheless, she sees it as doing “God’s work”. CatholicNews understands that MCYS sourced for the new premises and also paid for most of the renovations. The new Gift of Love Home is at 35 Boon Lay Avenue, Singapore 659962, opposite the Church of St Francis of Assisi. The home can be contacted at 6898 1090. „

Thirty-one youths from Singapore parishes and two from overseas recently completed a seven-week programme to help them to be effective witnesses for Christ. The 4th School Of Witness (SOW), held from Jan 4-Feb 21 at the Catholic Archdiocesan Youth Centre, aimed to help participants discover their true identity in Christ and the Catholic Church. They were also given an experience of community life and challenged to leave their comfort zones. The highlight of the programme was an outreach event, Testify to Love, held at Catholic Junior College on Feb 18. About 600 young people attended the event which included mime, faith testimonies and Eucharistic adoration. Participants were also invited to respond to the call of Christ and approach prayer teams for prayer. The Sacrament of Reconciliation was also administered to those who felt the need to come back to Jesus. After experiencing seven weeks of intensive community life, teachings, prayer and outreach sessions, the participants were commissioned by Arch-

bishop Nicholas Chia on Feb 21. He encouraged them to witness to their friends, families, and in their parishes and schools. Many participants said the programme was a life-changing experience for them. “The time that I spent in SOW must have been the ¿rst time in my 23 years that I have consciously walked right next to Jesus every single day,” said Wesley Lye from the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. “Be it through the sessions, or the mimes or daily personal prayer, or the times of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, I saw how God was present in each and every one of our lives.” “SOW has helped me to forgive, to have faith, to trust and hope in the Lord, to surrender and to pray – things I thought that I knew but never quite sustained – to form a true friendship with God,” said Stefanie Conceicao from Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. SOW is conducted annually at the beginning of each year by the Youth Ministry of¿ce in collaboration with the Institute for World Evangelisation (ICPE Mission). „


Sunday March 11, 2012 „ CatholicNews

Viewing Iran through WKHPDJLFRIĂ€OP :LQLIUHG/RKVSHQWDZHHNLQ7HKUDQDVSDUWRIDQLQWHUIDLWKĂ€OPMXU\6KHVKDUHVKHUH[SHULHQFH “HUH? You’re going to Iran? Why? Are you sure it’s safe? What’s there to see or do there? What does your hubby think about that?â€? Variations of these questions were asked by family and friends, accompanied by worried frowns, when I told them I was to be part of an interfaith jury at the 30th Fajir International Film Festival in Tehran. My reply was that since this invitation was extended by Australian Fr Peter Malone, a wellknown Âżlm reviewer and author instrumental in shaping my perspectives on faith and Âżlm, I couldn’t turn him down. Besides I was curious about the contradictions between the romance of Persia in the past versus the nuclear ambitions of Iran in the present. So with a sense of adventure, I packed two headscarves, two winter coats, an Iran travel guidebook, and the memoir, Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar NaÂżsi in my luggage. I had prepared myself to be culturally adaptable and to remember not to shake hands with Iranian men as there should not be any physical contact between men and women. Not being used to wearing a headscarf in the Singapore climate, I constantly Âżddled with mine in Tehran because I couldn’t keep it up! THE Fajr International Film Festival was from Feb 1-7. It is an important showcase about life and culture in the country at its present stage of political, economic and social development, a country with its own unique traditions and history within the larger Asia Minor region. Since 2002, Signis, the World Catholic Association for Communication, has been organising the Interfaith Award to show that everyone, Catholics and Muslims alike, is in pursuit of peace. Signis was responsible for appointing two of three jury members. One was jury secretary, Mr Guido Convents from Belgium, who is secretary of Signis’ Cinema Desk and editor of Signis Media magazine. The other was myself, a Signis Singapore member. The jury president, Mr Jahangir Almasi from Iran, was selected by the festival organisers. He is an actor, writer, director and member

Mr Jahangir Almasi, president of WKH,QWHUIDLWK$ZDUG-XU\

The writer (extreme right) seen here with (from left) Signis member Guido Convents; Dariush Mehrjui, director of 7KH2UDQJH6XLWZKLFKZRQWKH,QWHUIDLWK$ZDUGDQGDQXQLGHQWLÂżHG,UDQLDQZRPDQ

Since 2002, Signis, the World Catholic Association for Communication, has organised the Interfaith Award to show that everyone, Catholics and Muslims alike, is in pursuit of peace. Typical Iranian bread fresh from the oven at the Tajrish bazaar, a place EXVWOLQJZLWKDFWLYLW\DQGFRORXU

of the Iranian Academy of Persian Language and Literature. 2012 is a signi¿cant milestone in the history of collaboration between Signis and Iran, marking the 10th anniversary of Signis’ Interfaith Award and 40 years of Catholics promoting Iranian cinema worldwide. Over four days, our three-person jury watched 23 Iranian ¿lms, about a third of the total number of Iranian ¿lms produced in 2011! We covered the whole spectrum of life and culture in Iran – from

a kids’ show to a concert movie to dramas about nomadic tribes to the stresses of modern-day living. The jury was able to shortlist the top six ¿lms using criteria such as respect for human dignity, solidarity with minorities, care for creation, artistic quality and universal impact. After a robust debate, The Orange Suit, which deals with environment problems was selected for the award. The movie shows how an Iranian father wants to

preserve nature and its beauty not only for his family but also for future generations. Three other Âżlms received Special Commendations. They were: Growing in the Wind, which traces the journey of a nomadic tribe in northwest Iran through innocent, youthful eyes; Days of Life, which deals with the misery of war; and Someone Wants to Talk with You, which deals with relationships and forgiveness. DURING my stay in Tehran, at no time was I concerned about safety as we travelled between the Par-


sian Azadi Hotel, the Milad Tower conference centre for the screenings and the Vahdat Hall for the closing ceremony. Despite all the sabre rattling between the US and Iran, I didn’t see a single soldier with a riÀe anywhere. On my last day in Tehran, I visited the Tajrish bazaar, a place bustling with activity and colour. I had tasted a meat dish at the conference centre which had a unique sweet-sour Àavour, and which turned out to be pomegranate. I hunted it down at the bazaar, and a friendly customer at the dry goods store, who spoke excellent English, helped me with the ingredients of the recipe. Travelling is the best education that money can buy, and I learnt more about Iran in one week than I could from studying its history or reading newspapers and books. „ The writer is a parishioner of St Joseph Church (Bukit Timah). She was also a Signis Jury member at the Hong Kong International Film Festival in 2011.


Sunday March 11, 2012 „ CatholicNews

ABLE to look into needs of caregivers

Melaka-Johor diocese holds Rite of Election By Vincent D’Silva JOHOR BAHRU – Two hundred

and thirty-four catechumens and candidates from Melaka-Johor diocese packed the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart for the Rite of Election on Feb 26. Most of them had been sent by their parish communities in a special ceremony, and came in the busloads in the mid-day heat. These adult catechumens and candidates from 14 parishes and chapels had been part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) and its youth processes for the last one to two years. During the ceremony, Bishop


By Darren Boon Abilities Beyond Limitations and Expectations (ABLE), a Caritas Singapore afÂżliate which works with the physically challenged, is â&#x20AC;&#x153;looking at new projects and initiatives to better serveâ&#x20AC;? its clients in 2012. It plans to look into the needs of caregivers of the physically challenged and commission a study in this area in the future. Depending on the results of the survey, ABLE will then look at designing programmes such as inhouse counselling, small group/ support group therapy, home befriender and visit service, and a drop-in centre for the physically challenged which functions as a respite centre for the caregivers.

It does not rule out partnering other organisations for future projects as ABLE sees the â&#x20AC;&#x153;collaboration of experience usefulâ&#x20AC;? in its work, said ABLEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s manager Alan Wong. ABLE is collaborating with the Handicaps Welfare Association (HWA) on the Centre for the Physically Challenged (CPC) project. The centre was ofÂżcially launched by Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing on Feb 25. Archbishop Nicholas Chia was also present at the event. Caritas Singapore has provided $400,000 in funds of which a portion has been spent on the project. ABLE is planning a fund-raising event in the middle of the year to

ensure it is positioned to deliver services to its clients accordingly. Since the CPCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s soft launch in December 2010, it has served more than 150 physically challenged clients and placed more than 64 of them in jobs. The organisation said it will continue to seek prospective employers to conduct relevant courses for higher job placement opportunities. The CPC provides services such as rehabilitation, transportation, skills training and job placement for people with physical disabilities especially those who acquired disabilities during their productive years, according to ABLE Â&#x201E;

Paul Tan told them they had arrived at â&#x20AC;&#x153;the period of Âżnal and more intense preparations for the Sacraments of Initiation. Up till now, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re known as catechumens but after today, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be called Electâ&#x20AC;?, he said. Bishop Tan was assisted by six priests and four permanent deacons during the ceremony. Permanent deacon Sherman Kuek, who gave the homily, said the Church is at the service of others and its sole interest is to bring salvation to the world. He urged the catechumens to continue to listen to the words of Christ in the Gospel and repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. Â&#x201E;


Sunday March 11, 2012 „ CatholicNews

New Sibu bishop installed Vatican says ties

with Vietnam continue to improve

SIBU, MALAYSIA – Bishop Joseph

Hii Teck Kwong became the head of Sibu diocese that serves around 107,500 Catholics across 12 parishes on Feb 15. The packed Sacred Heart Cathedral rang with applause for the new bishop when Apostolic Delegate Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli read the papal announcement on the appointment at the installation ceremony. Bishop Hii, 46, replaces Bishop Dominic Su Haw Chiu, who received permission to retire from Pope Benedict XVI. This was in accordance with canon law that encourages a diocesan bishop to step down if illness or other serious reasons prevent him from ful¿lling his duties. “I didn’t choose God. It is God who chose me,” Bishop Hii noted, adding that the installation ceremony is a sign of God’s continuous love and care for His people which has been consistent throughout history, and which resulted in His send-

VATICAN CITY – The government

Bishop Joseph Hii Teck Kwong (second from left) took over the leadership of Sibu diocese from Bishop Dominic Su Haw Chiu (beside him) on Feb 15.

ing of His Son, Jesus, into the world. Referring to Bishop Su as a good leader who had led the diocese over the past 25 years, Bishop Hii said: “Being a man of prayer, I am con¿dent that he

will spend time praying for the people of Sibu and for me. That is why I take up this responsibility, like Moses prayed for Joshua,” he said, referring to the day’s reading from Deuteronomy 31. „ HERALD

of Vietnam has agreed to allow the pope’s special envoy to have greater freedom to visit Catholics in the communist country, the Vatican spokesman said. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said Vatican-Vietnamese relations continue to take “gradual steps forward”, including an agreement reached in late February “to facilitate the work” of Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, the pope’s nonresident envoy to the Vietnam, by making it easier for him to visit Catholic leaders and communities. The archbishop, who was appointed in January 2011, took part in meetings from Feb 27-28 of a joint Vatican-Vietnamese working group, established to work towards fully normalising relations. For years, top Vatican diplomats made annual trips to Vietnam to work out details of the Church’s life and freedom to

function in the country. The trips included a discussion of every potential bishop’s appointment with government of¿cials. The Vatican always insisted that needing government permission to name a bishop was not the usual Vatican procedure, but that it could be tolerated temporarily as Vatican-Vietnamese relations improved. The Vatican delegation visiting Hanoi from Feb 27-28 was led by Msgr Ettore Balestrero, the Vatican undersecretary for relations with states. A statement issued at the end of the meeting said, “The Holy See expressed the wish that its role and mission be strengthened and extended in order to enhance the bonds between the Holy See and the Catholic Church in Vietnam”, as relations improve between the Vatican and the Vietnamese government. „ CNS

Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, the pope’s non-resident envoy to the Vietnam, in one of his visits to the country last year.

Philippine Church offers online Lenten retreats MANILA – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) says it will have a special feature for its Lenten season website this year: online retreats. Msgr Pedro Quitorio, the CBCP media of¿ce director, said the online retreat would be available on from Feb 26. “These are video reÀections that will serve as alternative catechesis to those who are unable to attend Lenten retreats,” he said during the website’s launch on Ash Wednesday. However, he emphasised that an online retreat is no substitute for spending a few days in a “monastic atmosphere”. Msgr Quitorio said retreats are important because they help the

faithful understand the meaning of the Lenten season. “Catholics are invited to reÀect on themselves and prepare for the coming celebration of Holy Week.” Other features on the site include podcast reÀections, blogs of bishops, priests, Religious, and laypeople. The CBCP ¿rst launched the Visita Iglesia Online site in 2010 so overseas workers can participate in the country’s unique celebration of Lent, like the pabasa or the singing of the Gospel account of Christ’s Passion. “This project is intended for Filipinos who have no way of going to churches, especially seafarers,” Msgr Quitorio said. „ UCANEWS.COM


Sunday March 11, 2012 „ CatholicNews

Timor Leste Church holds peace march

LAHORE, PAKISTAN – A senior Supreme Court lawyer says a new book on Muslim-Christian relations could help ease tensions among the two groups created by recurring allegations of blasphemy. Mr Abid Hassan Minto addressed about 600 people on Feb 23 at the launch of the book translated as Muslims Ask, Christians Answer. The book aims to strengthen interreligious dialogue and clarify issues related to allegations of blasphemy against Christians. The event was held at the Dominican Peace Centre in Lahore. “The vague de¿nition of blasphemy and biased school syllabuses endanger all minorities,” he said, adding that religion in Pakistan should play no role in politics or the operations of the state. Dominican Fr James Channan, regional coordinator of the United Religious Initiative who sponsored the event, said fear of


lic Church in Dili has called for people to turn their backs on violence and ensure that presidential elections scheduled for March 17 are carried out peacefully. To get its message of peace across, it recently held a ¿ve-km walk and is currently conducting 111 days of prayer meetings. Bishop Alberto Ricardo da Silva of Dili led the walk on Ash Wednesday from Nossa Senhora Auxiliadora Church in Komoro to the bishop’s residence in Lecidere. With him were around 5,000 people, including priests, nuns, seminarians, laypeople, government of¿cials and foreign ambassadors. “People of Timor Leste must participate in the presidential election with peaceful hearts and a sense of unity. This is for the development of Timor Leste,” the prelate told them. Violence, disunity and war must not happen, he warned. “The Church takes part in promoting peace in Timor Leste. So we must keep asking God for strength and also Mother Mary for protection,” he added. He called on participants to have peace in their hearts and families according to Jesus Christ’s teachings. “By doing so, we will live in harmony and peace as a nation.” To help make this happen, prayer meetings began on Ash Wednesday in every basic ecclesi-

Timor Leste worshippers sit on a hill after praying the Stations of the Cross LQ7KH&KXUFKLQ'LOLKHOGD¿YHNPZDONIRUSHDFHIXOHOHFWLRQVUHcently. &16¿OHSKRWR

al community in the predominantly Catholic country. These prayer meetings will end on June 12. Mr Pedro da Costa, a legislator, thanked Bishop Ricardo da Silva for the peace initiative. He also hoped that all politicians will abide by the call.

“It is not only words. It must be realised in the presidential election,” he said. Eleven male candidates and two female candidates are vying for the top job in the upcoming election. Campaigning started on Feb 29 and ends on March 14. „ UCANEWS.COM

Taiwan retiree set for world pilgrimage on bike TAICHUNG, TAIWAN – A 62-yearold retired Taiwanese Catholic teacher is set to begin a solo fouryear cycling pilgrimage around the world to promote peace and the environment. Mr Albert Chen says his tour, which begins in mid-March, will see him visit churches in at least 54 countries. On Feb 28, he received a blessing from Bishop Martin Su Yaowen of Taichung ahead of his trip. “It will not be easy at this age … but I believe God’s grace will help me accomplish the goal,” Mr Chen said. He took up cycling after being diagnosed with a tumour in 2007. While in hospital waiting for surgery, he felt “a call to do something meaningful”, so he began cycling around Taiwan the following year. His interest in environmental causes took hold when he rode with university students to oppose the building of a petrochemical plant on wetlands in 2010. That same year, he rode 4,250 km to visit nearly 400 churches as

Book aims to improve Muslim-Christian relations in Pakistan

Bishop Martin Su Yao-wen (right) and retiree biker Albert Chen (centre) after the blessing ceremony on Feb 28. UCANEWS.COM photo

well as Catholic-run schools, hospitals and religious congregations. This year, Chen will ride ¿rst to mainland China, then to West Asia and Western Europe. He estimates this leg of his trip will cover 14,000 km. He plans to ride the Ameri-

cas and Oceania in 2013, Southeast Asia and South Asia in 2014 and through Africa, Northern and Eastern Europe in 2015. So far Chen has raised only one-¿fth of the money needed for the ¿rst year of his tour, scheduled to start on March 17. „ UCANEWS.COM

persecution makes true dialogue on doctrine dif¿cult. “Several blasphemy cases were reported after religious discourses went awry. The book can help people engaged in interfaith initiatives.” Nasir Khan, a producer at the state-run Pakistan Television (PTV), translated the book, written by German Jesuit Fr Christian Troll, who also attended the launch event. Fr Troll said Muslims had asked him to narrate political and economic differences between Muslims and Christians. “It is an endeavour to promote a culture of mutual conversation among religiously educated Pakistanis. Understanding the question correctly is crucial in such debates,” he said. Some 1,000 copies of the book have been published so far, and the work has also been translated into seven languages. „ UCANEWS.COM

Korean govt asks religions WRKHOSÀJKWEXOO\LQJ SEOUL – The South Korean gov-

ernment has appealed to religious leaders for help in cracking down on school bullying following a series of suicides by teenagers. Their appeal came on Feb 16 after police revealed cases where several young students were buried alive as a form of torture, hung from a crane and had frogs put in their mouths. Education Minister Lee Juho met on Feb 16 with Rev Kim Young-ju, secretary-general of the National Council of Churches in Korea, to ask for a joint effort to end the growing problem. The government had vowed to take stronger action against bullying following public outrage over

the suicide of a middle school student in Daegu in December, who said in his suicide note he had been subjected to “water torture”. This was followed by a case in January when a 14-year-old boy killed himself in Gwangju after three students beat him, robbed him and sent him threatening text messages. At the recent meeting, Rev Kim pledged cooperation and said Mr Lee should not hold back in setting up “fundamental countermeasures to root it out”. Mr Lee said he will meet with Venerable Jaseung, chief executive of the Buddhist Jogye Order and Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk of Seoul. „ UCANEWS.COM


Sunday March 11, 2012 „ CatholicNews

Japan’s bishops hold Mass to remember earthquake victims TOKYO – All 17 active bishops

in Japan celebrated Mass at Sekiguchi Cathedral in Tokyo on Feb 15 ahead of the ¿rst anniversary of the massive earthquake that hit the country last year. The Mass, attended by around 400 people, was dedicated to the memory of the disaster victims and saw participants praying for the recovery process. Although the actual anniversary is March 11, the bishops wanted to make the Mass a united expression of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan (CBCJ), and so scheduled it to coincide with its plenary assembly, held that week. Before the Mass, a Caritas Japan slideshow was displayed on a large screen, featuring photographs of relief activities underway in disaster areas. The main Mass celebrant was CBCJ president Archbishop Jun Ikenaga of Osaka. Archbishop Joseph Chennoth, Apostolic Nuncio to Japan, concelebrated, and read out a mes-

A Japanese man searches through the remains of his house that was destroyed in the earthquake and tsunami last year. CNS photo

sage in English and Japanese from the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Bishop Tetsuo Hiraga of Sendai diocese gave the homily. The natural disasters last year and the nuclear crisis they caused at the Fukushima Dai’ichi power plant were all centred in Sendai.

Bishop Hiraga offered his thanks for the aid and volunteers that poured in from the rest of Japan and from abroad. Also at the Mass were around 60 dignitaries from foreign embassies, including ambassadors and their wives, who came at the special invitation of the nuncio. „ UCANEWS.COM

Filipinos rejoice at news of layman’s canonisation MANILA – Filipinos have expressed joy at a Vatican announcement giving the canonisation date of their country’s second saint. The Vatican on Feb 18 said the canonisation of Blessed Pedro Calungsod will take place on Oct 21. “We are happy that we will have a second Filipino saint,” Bishop Jose Oliveros of Malolos said. He noted that Blessed Calungsod, like the Philippines’ ¿rst saint, Lorenzo Ruiz, was a layperson. “It shows that our laypeople can respond to the call to holiness,” he said. Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa said the canonisation of Blessed Calungsod is a sign of

Blessed Pedro Calungsod will be canonised on Oct 21.

the “great importance of the nonordained faithful in the Church in Asia”.

Massgoers in Cebu shouted “Viva San Pedro de Cebu!” after the news was announced on Feb 19. In a message on Facebook, Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal said, “I would like to thank all those who have contributed to the promotion of Blessed Pedro’s cause.” Calungsod was an 18-year-old missionary in Guam in 1672 when he was killed. He was beati¿ed in 2000 by Blessed John Paul. Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, con¿rmed the canonisation of Calungsod and six other candidates for sainthood after a Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI on Feb 18. „ UCANEWS.COM

Penang parish trains voters to spot fraud PENANG, MALAYSIA – Some 50 Catholics participated in a voters’ education programme organised by a parish in Penang. Volunteers from a civil society action group called Tindak Malaysia conducted the Feb 19 programme at the Church of the Assumption. It included how to protect the secrecy of one’s vote and how to contribute towards a free and fair election.

The event, organised by the parish’s Human Development Committee, also included a roleplay on the voting process. This saw participants familiarising themselves with the roles of voting clerks, polling agents, election of¿cers and voters. Parish priest Fr Dominic Santhiyagu said the parish held the event to raise parishioners’ awareness of their rights as voters.

According to Ms Lucia Lai, a member of the parish committee, many voters are not familiar with the voting process. The training prepares them to detect any discrepancies during the voting process such as seeing markings on their ballot papers, and when and how to protest against discrepancies, she said. General elections in Malaysia are expected sometime this year. „ UCANEWS.COM


Sunday March 11, 2012 Â&#x201E; CatholicNews

([$QJOLFDQVKROG Mass at St Peterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s VATICAN CITY â&#x20AC;&#x201C; For perhaps the

Âżrst time ever, Anglican hymns, chants and prayers reverberated off the marble walls of St Peterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Basilica in Rome as some members of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Âżrst ordinariate for former Anglicans celebrated their coming into the Catholic Church. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Wonderful is not a strong enough word to express how we feel to be here,â&#x20AC;? where the apostle Peter gave his life â&#x20AC;&#x153;and where his successors guarded the faith for generations,â&#x20AC;? said Fr Len Black in his homily. Mass at the basilica and the pilgrimage to Rome generated â&#x20AC;&#x153;a feeling of coming homeâ&#x20AC;?, said the Catholic priest who served as an Episcopalian pastor in the Scottish Highlands for 31 years. The group of about 94 pilgrims, including a dozen priests, was led by Msgr Keith Newton, head of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, which was established in January 2011 for former Anglicans in England and Wales. After celebrating morning Mass on Feb 24 in a side chapel, the group moved to the centre of

Msgr Keith Newton led a group of 94 former-Anglicans in a pilgrimage which included St Peterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Basilica (right).

the basilica and stood in front of the Confessio, a lower chapel honouring St Peterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s confession of faith that led to his martyrdom, and recited the General Thanksgiving, a traditional Anglican prayer. â&#x20AC;&#x153;That was very moving, thanking God for all we received this year and for the pilgrimage,â&#x20AC;? he told Catholic News Service. The weeklong Lenten pilgrim-

age highlighted the seasonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s call to conversion but also was an opportunity to thank Pope Benedict XVI for establishing a structure for welcoming former Anglicans into the Catholic Church. Msgr Newton also met brieĂ&#x20AC;y with the pope at the end of the popeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s general audience on Feb 22. Â&#x201E; Â&#x201E; See related story on Page 13

6WDWHVZRPHQVHQDWRUVĂ&#x20AC;JKW US contraceptive mandate WASHINGTON â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Seven US states

have Âżled suit against the Department of Health and Human Servicesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; (HHS) mandate that nearly all health insurance plans cover contraceptives free of charge, saying it violates religious freedom and leaves â&#x20AC;&#x153;countless additional religious freedoms vulnerable to government intrusionâ&#x20AC;?. Joining the attorneys general of Nebraska, South Carolina, Michigan, Texas, Florida, Ohio and Oklahoma in the lawsuit were a nun, a lay missionary working with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, Pius X Catholic High School in Lincoln, Nebraska, and the Omaha-based Catholic Mutual Group, a selfinsurance fund that covers more than 125 dioceses or archdioceses and 200 Catholic Religious congregations in the US and Canada. The latest lawsuit was Âżled as protests against the HHS mandate mounted. More than 4,500 women signed a letter calling on President Barack Obama, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Congress to allow people to â&#x20AC;&#x153;witness to their faithsâ&#x20AC;?. In addition, 18 US senators asked Obama to rescind the mandate, saying that its implementation â&#x20AC;&#x153;will unjustly impact religiously afÂżliated organisations and individualsâ&#x20AC;?.

The headquarters of the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington. CNS photo

The mandate requires no-cost coverage of all contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration, including some that can cause an abortion, as well as sterilisations, as part of preventive health services for women. A narrow religious exemption applies only to those employed by houses of worship. In a revision announced on Feb 10, Mr Obama said religious employers could decline to cover contraceptives if they were morally opposed to them, but the health insurers that provide their health plans would be required to offer contraceptives free of charge to women who requested such coverage. He also announced a one-year â&#x20AC;&#x153;safe harbourâ&#x20AC;? period before enforcement of the mandate began

for religious employers. The lawsuit by the seven attorneys general, all Republicans, followed earlier suits Âżled by Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina and Colorado Christian University in Denver; the Eternal Word Television Network in Birmingham, Alabama; and Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida. In the open letter, the women signatories said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Each of us, Catholic or not, is proud to stand with the Catholic Church and its rich, life-afÂżrming teachings on sex, marriage and family life.â&#x20AC;? The letter added, â&#x20AC;&#x153;We call on President Obama and our representatives in Congress to allow religious institutions and individuals to continue to witness to their faiths in all their fullness.â&#x20AC;? Â&#x201E;

'RFXPHQWDU\DERXW actress turned nun QRPLQDWHGIRU2VFDU HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA â&#x20AC;&#x201C; because we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have any other Mother Dolores Hart, a former ac- way to say it. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a call of love. tress turned cloistered nun, attend- Why do you climb a mountain?â&#x20AC;? ed the 2012 Academy Awards to The nun said she allowed camshow support for God is the Bigger eras to access the abbey to help Elvis, an Oscar-nominated docu- those who are soul-searching. mentary about her and her abbey. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We wanted to invite the world Mother Dolores, 73, was an into another order of life that award-winning actress who per- might give some hope,â&#x20AC;? she said. formed in two Elvis Presley movies. The documentary interviews In 1963, she was about to sign a Mother Dolores and other nuns seven-Âżgure contract and was en- like Sr John Mary, 44, a former gaged to a Los Angeles business- Oxford-educated advertising exman when she ecutive who Photo: The Abbey of Regina Laudis website decided to join came to the the Benedicabbey after a tine Abbey of period of adRegina Laudis diction. in Bethlehem, It also covConnecticut, ers the last where she is meeting of now prioress. Mother DoThe 37lores and her minute docuex-Âżancp Don mentary talks Mother Dolores Hart. Robinson, who about Mother never married. Doloresâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; story and about life at the He continued to visit and help the abbey. It was an Oscar nominee abbey until his death in December for best documentary short cat- 2011. egory, but failed to win the award. The documentaryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s director ReHowever, it is expected to pre- becca Cammisa said she made the miere on April 5 on HBO. Âżlm to explore what makes someâ&#x20AC;&#x153;I adored Hollywood. I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t one with Mother Doloresâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; level of leave because it was a place of success choose the Religious life. sin,â&#x20AC;? she told USA Today. Mother Dolores was a presentâ&#x20AC;&#x153;I left Hollywood at the urging er at the 1959 Academy Awards, of a mysterious thing called voca- and remains a voting member of tion. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a call that comes from the Academy of Motion Picture another place that we call God Arts and Sciences. Â&#x201E; CNS

:RUNVKRSORRNVDWKHOSLQJ FRXSOHVRYHUFRPHLQIHUWLOLW\ VATICAN CITY â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Most of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fertility specialists have spent so much time and effort trying to promote and perfect in vitro fertilisation that they have wasted resources and time that could have been used to Âżnd ways to prevent and treat infertility, a US physician told a Vatican audience. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Infertility is a symptom of an underlying condition,â&#x20AC;? and too many physicians do not even attempt to Âżnd the cause and treat it; they simply recommend in vitro fertilisation, said Dr Thomas W Hilgers, a member of the PontiÂżcal Academy for Life. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Women go to the IVF clinic with an underlying disease and they walk away from these clinics with the same disease,â&#x20AC;? said Dr Hilgers, one of 16 speakers at the workshop sponsored by the Pontifical Academy for Life. The Feb 24 workshop was to discuss the latest research on the causes, prevention and treatment of infertility. According to the academy, infertility affects about 15 percent of people in the industrialised world and up to 30 percent of those in some developing countries. Dr Hilgers, who is director of the Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Oma-

ha, USA, said his Natural Procreative Technology, presented at the conference, is the result of more than 35 yearsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; work on treating the causes of infertility, including endometriosis, tubal adhesions and polycystic ovaries. NaPro Technology includes diagnostic methods as well as pharmacological and surgical treatments aimed at allowing couples to conceive naturally. In an interview with Catholic News Service, Dr Hilgers said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are 9.5 million women in the United States who have some type of fertility problem. Of those 9.5 million women, less than 0.5 percent of them had a baby last year by IVFâ&#x20AC;?, a method in which a womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eggs are removed, united with sperm in a laboratory, and then implanted in the womb of the mother or a surrogate. The Catholic Church teaches that IVF is immoral. Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, academy president, told the Vatican newspaper, â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want to offer a contribution to try to reduce as much as possible this phenomenon, which makes it impossible for so many people to procreate a child and to satisfy their just desire for responsible parenthood.â&#x20AC;? Â&#x201E;


Sunday March 11, 2012 „ CatholicNews

UK Catholics urged to house Olympic athletes, families CNS photo



Catholics in British cities hosting events for the 2012 Olympic Games are being urged to show hospitality to athletes who cannot afford to stay in hotels. They are being encouraged to register with the Athlete Family Homestay Programme and open their homes for eight days or more to Olympic and Paralympic competitors and their families from poor nations. Mr James Parker, the Catholic Church’s executive coordinator for the 2012 London Olympic Games, told Catholic News Service that the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales saw the initiative as an act of solidarity. “It is estimated that approximately a third of all of¿cial Olympic and Paralympic athletes and

Louis Smith of Britain going through his paces at an international gymnastics competition in January. It was part of the testing programme for the 2012 Olympic Games.

coaches will be from a Catholic background,” he said in a Feb 17 email to Catholic News Service. “With this in mind, the Catholic community, alongside other Christians and those of other faiths and no faiths, wishes to offer a tangible way of ‘welcoming the stranger’ to our shores by offering free board and lodging for limited periods during the games.” The homestay programme is being organised by More Than

Gold, the Churches’ umbrella charity that serves the games. Mr Parker said that the charity, of which the Catholic Church is a member, is focusing in particular on athletes’ family members and friends “who come from the developing world who could never afford to stay in the UK”. “We believe that they, as much as anyone, have the right to see ¿rst-hand their loved ones display the fruit of what has often been

years of ongoing commitment,” he said. “Anyone linked to the 2012 games’ athletes and of¿cials quali¿es to apply, irrespective of their ¿nancial situation.” He noted that the presence of relatives “can dramatically affect an athlete’s performance on the day”. Catholics who sign up to the programme will be expected to welcome up to two guests from a hospitality centre, then provide them with beds and breakfast for eight days or more during the July 27-Aug 12 Olympics or the Aug 29-Sept 9 Paralympics. They will be also be asked to drop off guests at a transportation hub each day. Most hosts will be sought in London, where most of the events will take place and where hotel prices will be more expensive. But they will also be required in such English cities as Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle; in the Scottish city of Glasgow; and in Cardiff, the capital of Wales. According to the More Than Gold website, at previous Olympic Games, Christians have provided more than half of all the homes needed to host athletes’ family members. „ CNS


Sunday March 11, 2012 Â&#x201E; CatholicNews

US structure for Anglicans joining Church inaugurated HOUSTON, USA â&#x20AC;&#x201C; A former Episcopal bishop has ofÂżcially become the head of a special Church structure for US Anglicans wishing to join the Catholic Church. With the reading of a papal announcement and the presentation of his mitre and crosier on Feb 12, Fr Jeffrey N Steenson, received the title of â&#x20AC;&#x153;monsignorâ&#x20AC;? and ofÂżcially became the head of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter. The historic Mass, held at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston, ofÂżcially inaugurated this US ordinariate (similar to a diocese but national in scope) established by the Vatican earlier this year. The ordinariate is to facilitate and shepherd communities of former Anglicans wishing to join the Catholic faith while retaining elements of their Anglican heritage and traditions. Msgr Steenson, who with his wife, Debra, has three adult children and one grandchild, described his appointment and the institution of the ordinariate as a joy-Âżlled event, and one he had been preparing for all his life. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Working with people again, to be a pastor and walk alongside people that in their conscience are [being led] back into the Catholic Church is a joy,â&#x20AC;? he said in comments to the news media. Those who attended the celebration said they were awestruck by the Mass, which incorporated Anglican music, rituals and prayers from the Book of Divine Worship. Many acknowledged it as a milestone moment in the Churchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ecumenical efforts to realise the prayer of Jesus â&#x20AC;&#x153;that they all may be oneâ&#x20AC;?. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I felt a great sense of joy and wonder at participating in this historic moment,â&#x20AC;? said Ms Pamela Mandeville, a former Episcopalian who is a candidate in the Rite



Walking alongside people that in their conscience are [being led] back into the Catholic Church is a joy.


â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Msgr Jeffrey N Steenson

of Christian Initiation of Adults programme. The Episcopal Church is the US member of the Anglican Communion. Mr John Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Donnell, a Catholic since birth, called the Mass â&#x20AC;&#x153;humbling and spectacularâ&#x20AC;?. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I will always consider it one of the most important religious ceremonies of my lifetime,â&#x20AC;? he told the Texas Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Cardinals Daniel N DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and Donald W Wuerl of Washington were among the concelebrants of the Mass. The Ordinariate of the Chair of

St Peter is the second structure of its kind in the world after one was established in England last year under Anglicanorum Coetibus, the 2009 apostolic constitution allowing personal ordinariates for former Anglicans. The establishment of the US ordinariate on Jan 1 follows decades of petitioning by Anglican groups and congregations in the US for a formal structure within which to enter full communion with Rome. The seat of the ordinariate is Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church, an Anglican-use parish in Houston. A distance-learning formation programme for former Anglican clergy discerning ordination to the Catholic priesthood is also based at Houstonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s St Mary Seminary. Forty-two former Anglican priests from across the country began training to become Catholic priests at a formation weekend in late January. Their formation will continue through the spring and will include instruction on the culture of the Catholic Church. Â&#x201E; CNS

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Burnt prison had triple number of inmatesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; MEXICO CITY â&#x20AC;&#x201C; The prison in Comayagua, Honduras â&#x20AC;&#x201C; scene of a Âżre that killed more than 300 inmates â&#x20AC;&#x201C; was holding more than three times the population it was designed to house, said the prison chaplain, Fr Reinaldo Moncada. The priest told Catholic News Service that conditions in the prison were â&#x20AC;&#x153;inhumaneâ&#x20AC;? but said, unlike some other Âżres, it was not related to Âżghts between rival criminal gangs inside the prison. Local media reported Honduran ofÂżcials saying the Âżre was possibly caused by a short circuit or a prisoner lighting a mattress on Âżre. The blaze began on Feb 14 and took more than an hour to get under control. Â&#x201E; CNS

An inmateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s relative cries outside the prison in Comayagua, Honduras, ZKHUHDPDVVLYHÂżUHNLOOHGPRUHWKDQLQPDWHVCNS photo


Sunday March 11, 2012 „ CatholicNews

Fortnightly newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore

2 Highland Road, #01-03 Singapore 549102. Telephone: 6858 3055. Fax: 6858 2055. Website: MANAGING EDITOR: Father Johnson Fernandez:


ASSISTANT EDITOR: Christopher Khoo:





Please include your full name, address and phone no. for all letters to the editor. Published submissions will be edited.

DESIGN / LAYOUT: Christopher Wong: Elaine Ong:


State must provide ‘health services’ There is a ¿ne line between religious freedom in the United States and her constitutional obligation towards the separation of Church and state. I agree with President Barack Obama’s comment, “No woman’s

health should depend on who she is, who she works for, or how much money she makes.” (Contraceptive Mandate, CN, Feb 26). While Cardinal-designate Timothy M Dolan has the right to develop programmes that will discourage

women from using contraceptives, the state must provide health services to ALL women regardless of how the Church judges her decisions. Carmen Hartono Singapore 118699

My brother, the pope Msgr Georg Ratzinger has written a book about his brother, Pope Benedict ROME – Recounting their rural Bavarian childhood and subsequent lifelong friendship, the elder brother of Pope Benedict XVI offers a privileged look at the personal side of the spiritual leader of 1.3 billion Catholics. My Brother, the Pope, scheduled for publication on March 1 by Ignatius Press, is based on interviews with Msgr Georg Ratzinger by German writer Michael Hesemann and was originally published in German last year. Joseph, the future Pope Benedict, was “very slight and delicate” at birth, Msgr Ratzinger says, and was “often sick” as an infant, with diphtheria among other ailments. Later on, Joseph’s favourite toys were stuffed animals, and he was particularly attached to a pair of teddy bears. Msgr Ratzinger describes family life with their parents and older sister Maria as free of any overt conÀict, “since each one settled that himself and with God in personal prayer”. Glimpses of the boys’ destinies came early on. When a cardinal visited their small town in 1931, arriving in a black limousine, four-year-old Joseph exclaimed, “I’ll be a cardinal someday!” Nevertheless, Msgr Ratzinger says, his brother was never ambitious, and external honours have been “always unwelcome” to him. “My brother was somewhat better behaved than I,” Msgr Ratzinger says, yet he recounts a boyhood prank in which the two tricked a local farmer into losing track of his oxcart. Recreation of a more edifying

Msgr Ratzinger. His book was scheduled for publication on March 1.

sort came when the boys played at being priests, using a toy altar made for them by an uncle. “It was a really beautiful high altar, which he even equipped with a rotating tabernacle,” Msgr Ratzinger recalls. “Naturally we used water instead of wine for the make-believe consecration.” The future Pope Benedict, now a pro¿cient amateur pianist and lover of Mozart, “did not take to music quite as spontaneously as I did” says Msgr Ratzinger, who went on to become the choirmaster of the Regensburg Cathedral choir. Recounting Hitler’s rise to power in 1930s Germany, Msgr Ratzinger says that their father regarded the dictator as the “Antichrist” and refused to join the Nazi party. “But so as not to put our family completely at risk, he advised Mother to join the women’s or-

ganisation,” Msgr Ratzinger says, noting that the women “did not talk about Hitler but instead exchanged recipes, chatted about their gardens, and sometimes even prayed the rosary together”. It was only reluctantly that the two boys obeyed requirements to join the Hitler Youth and later served in the German military during World War II, Msgr Ratzinger says. The pope’s brother was present at the Allied bombardment of the monastery on Monte Cassino, Italy, in 1944. In 2005, after the death of Blessed John Paul II, Msgr Ratzinger was sure that his brother was too old to be elected pope. When he heard the new pontiff’s name pronounced on live television, he admits that he was “disheartened”. “It was a great challenge, an enormous task for him, I thought, and I was seriously worried,” Msgr Ratzinger says. The pope later con¿ded that his election had “struck him like a bolt of lightning”, Msgr Ratzinger says. Msgr Ratzinger says that his brother has not been indifferent to the many criticisms that he has received during his career, as prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and then as pope. Pope Benedict is “personally very sensitive, but he also knows from which corner these attacks come and the reason for them, what is usually behind them”, Msgr Ratzinger says. “That way he overcomes it more easily, he rises above it more simply.” „ CNS

On salvation of non-Christians AS CHRISTIANS, we are asked to carry a very real tension in terms of how we understand the salvation of non-Christians because we have two seemingly conÀicting teachings within our scriptures and our tradition. On the one hand, Jesus reveals a God who is forever just and fair and who unequivocally wills the salvation of everyone. On the other hand, Jesus tells us that He, and He alone, is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one goes to God except through Him. And through 2,000 years of history, Christians have always taken those words to mean essentially what they say. So where does that leave us? How do we take seriously both the universal salvi¿c will of God and the belief that everyone needs to be saved through Christ? There are no easy answers, though radical conservatives and radical liberals are both tempted to think so. We are asked to carry that tension without being able to fully resolve it. So here, as a suggestion, are 10 principles to help us carry the tension: 1. Given our theology of God, we may not believe that God favours some people to the detriment of others. 2. Given our theology of God, we must believe that the whole of humankind has never lacked Divine Providence. 3. Given our theology of God, we should be hesitant in judging others and should allow, both for others and for ourselves, the possibility of “invincible ignorance”. 4. Given our theology of God, we may not believe that God has somehow deemed as illegitimate and unworthy of salvation the sincere hearts and sincere prayers of billions of people because their hearts and prayers were not explicitly Christian. 5. Given our theology of God, we may not believe that, at any given time in history, the vast majority of humanity is being excluded from salvation because they have no explicit link to Jesus or the Christian Churches. 6. Given our theology of God, we may not believe that a purely external, historical connection to Christianity is more important to our intimacy with God and the salvation of our souls than are gratitude, warmth, humility, willingness to reconcile, and openness of heart. 7. Given our theology of God, it is wise to believe that compassion of heart and the gifts of the Holy Spirit within a person trump all externals in terms of our connection to God. 8. Given our theology of God and our Christian tradition, we are asked to believe these truths, namely: „ That the full mystery of Christ is larger than what can be perceived within historical Christianity. There is, as the old catechisms af¿rmed, not just a “visible Christ” but also an “invisible Christ”. „ That all good things have God as their author and that therefore everything that is good, including what is good inside other religions, comes from God. The same holds true for what all that is good, true, and beautiful within secular culture. „ That God is revealed in multiple ways within nature, within human reason, within human conscience, and within our lives. „ That Christ is a structure within physical creation and that physical creation itself was made through Christ and bears His imprint in its structure and design. „ That non-Christians can be saints. „ That the visible Christian Community is tangible grace and tangible salvation: It offers salvation, here and now, in the Àesh, albeit imperfectly. It is the ¿nal state already present so that, at least ideally, within it one can ¿nd explicitly the aid, the support, the af¿rmation, the challenge, the revelation, the wisdom and the celebration needed to come to the fullness of life. „ That the visible Christian community tells a person of his/her birthright and helps him/her to appropriate more fully that birthright, i.e. as daughter or son of God and as brother or sister with all the sincere. „ That the visible Christian community is a privileged instrument of mediation and salvation. It has been asked by Jesus to preach salvation, explicitly, to all the Earth. It has a special place and responsibility (as did Mary, Jesus’ mother) in bringing to completeness God’s universal salvi¿c will. Through it “all the nations of the earth will be blessed”. 9. Given our theology of God, our scriptures and Christian tradition, we have two ultimate options apposite to how we might understand the salvation of non-Christians: A theologically agnostic one (don’t speculate on this, leave it to God), or a nuanced Christian one which posits various distinctions within baptism (“baptism by desire”, “baptism by blood”), or within different ways of being inside the mystery of Christ (Anonymous Christianity, the mystery of Christ as being larger than historical Christianity, a visible and an invisible Christ). 10. Given our theology of God it is perhaps healthiest to critically step back into the beauty and richness of mystery and believe, in the words of Anglican priest and scholar Kenneth Cragg, that: “It takes a whole world to understand a whole Christ.” „


Sunday March 11, 2012 „ CatholicNews

Pieces of Jesuit wisdom Fr Jim Martin, SJ, shares insights gained during his training that have changed his outlook on life


You’re not Jesus

VE BEEN a Jesuit for 23 years. I’ll spare you the complete description of my training or “formation”, as we say. Instead I’d like to boil down the most helpful things that I’ve heard from my elders: those who have trained me, who have been my spiritual directors, who have been my superiors, and who have been my colleagues and friends. All these pieces of wisdom changed the way I look at life, God and my fellow human beings. And all of them, I hope, will be helpful to you, whether or not you’re a Jesuit. Allow yourself to be human In 1989, as a brand-new 28-yearold Jesuit novice in Boston, USA, I was told that I would be sent to work for four months in the slums of Kingston, Jamaica. I was terri¿ed. Never having spent any time in the developing world, I was almost paralysed with fear. What if I got mugged? What if I got sick? The night before I left, I was sitting in the living room staring at (I was too nervous to read) the newspaper. An elderly Jesuit came in to say hi. Joe McCormick was one of the freest people I knew: warm, open, joyful. “Ready for Jamaica?” he asked. Out came my worries. Joe patiently listened to them all. “What’s your biggest fear?” he said. I told him I was worried that I’d get so sick I would have to come home. That would be embarrassing, I thought darkly. Joe nodded and said, “Can you allow yourself to get sick, Jim? You’re a human being with a body, after all, and sometimes bodies get sick. The worst that could happen – coming home – isn’t the end of the world. So why not just allow yourself to be human?” A cloud lifted. Yeah, why not just relax and be human? Getting sick wouldn’t be the end of the world. I went to Jamaica… and never once got sick. But I got more human.

In 1989, as a Jesuit novice in Boston, USA, I was told that I would be sent to work in the slums of Jamaica. ,ZDVWHUUL¿HG is impossible. Even Jesus in His earthly life wasn’t universally admired. Why should I be? An American seminarian uses a laptop to take notes during a theology class. Some of the best bits of advice he has had was during his priestly formation programme, says Jesuit Fr Martin. &16¿OHSKRWR

You don’t have to be someone else to be holy Too much of my time as a novice was spent trying to be like other people. I knew that I wasn’t holy myself, and saw other novices who seemed far more holy, so, I ¿gured, I needed to be like them. One guy was soft-spoken and dif¿dent, and he was pretty holy, so I decided to be meek and mild. “What’s wrong with you?” another novice said after seeing me piously moping around the house. Another novice woke up super early and prayed before our morning prayers at 7 am. He seemed holy, too: so I started to get up super early. “Wow, you look tired,” one guy said. “Aren’t you getting any sleep?” Finally I said to my spiritual director, “I’m not sure how to be holy. Who should I imitate in the novitiate? Who’s doing it right?” “Jim,” he said, “you don’t have to be someone else to be holy. Just be yourself. That’s the person God called into the Jesuits, after all.” His advice helped me to relax, and to be appreciated for who I was, not for who I wasn’t. Plus I got more sleep. You’re not married to everyone When I was in philosophy studies

in Chicago, I lived in a great Jesuit community where I made tons of friends. But there was a problem: many members had, not surprisingly, different likes and dislikes. One guy got annoyed if you didn’t move his wet clothes from the washer to the dryer. Another got angry if you did put them in the dryer. Another guy didn’t like to talk about his studies at meals: too stressful. Another did: it helped him let off steam. One day I said to my superior, “I feel like I have to remember what everyone wants. And what everyone’s little likes and dislikes are. It’s driving me nuts.” He smiled. “You’re not married to everyone, Jim. There’s no need to please everyone. Plus, you couldn’t if you tried. Just be kind and generous and the rest will take care of itself.” Behind the good desire to please everyone was the desire to have everyone like you, which

Don’t let anyone prevent you from becoming the person you want to be At one point in my training I lived with a dif¿cult person in community. He had many good qualities but was also argumentative and combative. (Eventually he would leave the Jesuits.) Since I was always running into him, it seemed that I was slowly changing in response. I was always on guard – combative and argumentative myself – in order to protect myself. At one point, I told my spiritual director that this person’s personality seemed to be making me into a different person, someone I didn’t like. “Don’t let anyone prevent you from becoming the person you want to be,” he counselled. “He has no right to do that, nor does he really have the power. God desires you to become loving and charitable. Don’t let him distract you.” It was hard advice to follow but it was essential. Rather than let someone else’s problems mould you, become the person God wants you to become.

After philosophy studies, I worked with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Nairobi, Kenya. It was fantastic work. But gradually I started to fret about doing all that needed to be done. Our work was helping East African refugees start small businesses, which meant: meeting with them on a regular basis, checking on their businesses (tailoring shops, bakeries, restaurants, chicken farms), helping them navigate their way through government agencies, arranging for them to get medical help when they were sick, and just listening to them. How could I do it all? After a few months, I confessed to my spiritual director how overwhelmed I felt. “Where did you get the idea that you had to do everything all at once?” he asked. Well, I said, that’s what Jesus would do. He would visit them. He would check on their businesses. He would ¿x their problems. He would help to heal them. My spiritual director said, “That’s true. But I’ve got news for you: you’re not Jesus! No one person can do everything. And even Jesus didn’t heal everyone in Palestine.” Accepting my limitations and my “poverty of spirit”, that is, my own limitations, helped me to do my best and leave the rest up to God. Later on another spiritual director put it more succinctly: “There is Good news and there is the Better News. The Good News is that there is a Messiah. The Better News is that it’s not you!” „ James is culture editor of America magazine and author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything. His latest book is Between Heaven and Mirth.


Sunday March 11, 2012 „ CatholicNews

Church to welcome 970 Some of those preparing to become Catholics

‘Signed up by God’ to By Darren Boon

Stephen and Marian Lim

Experiencing little miracles along the way For couple Stephen and Marian Lim, the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) has given them a deeper understanding of God’s love. Speaking in Mandarin, Mr Lim said the classes have helped them understand Christ’s teachings better, and learn to be more generous and ready to forgive others. He said he has tried to apply what he had learnt in RCIA to his work and marriage. For example, there is now greater understanding between him and his wife. Mrs Lim, she said she has experienced joy in her life and has even got rid of some bad habits. The couple, who have already been baptised as Christians, will be received into the Catholic Church this Easter.

They also shared little miracles in their journey. Mrs Lim recalled that they were unable to attend the Mandarin RCIA at Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace on Thursday evenings due to work commitments, and had to attend the Mandarin RCIA at Novena Church instead. She prayed that they could continue at Queen of Peace, and one day their work schedules were adjusted, allowing them to attend classes. The couple’s relationship with their daughter has also improved, she shared. Meanwhile, the couple are focusing on their prayer life by participating in devotional prayers. They are also thankful for the prayers and support they have received from their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. „

Close to 1,000 people are expected to join the Catholic Church in Singapore this Easter. They have been preparing for a year or more to receive the Sacraments of Initiation since joining the various parishes’ RCIA or RCIY (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults/Youths) programmes. The names of 900 catechumens (non-Christians seeking baptism) and 70 candidates (baptised Christians seeking full communion with the Church) have been enrolled in the Book of Elect and presented to Archbishop Nicholas Chia at the Rite of Election over two weekends. These ¿gures are the latest at press time and include those from the Mandarin-speaking community. “The ¿gures are the prerogative of God’s invitation,” said RCIA coordinator Jarvis Tan. “It is He who always chooses and takes the initiative to claim a person as His own. The emphasis for the RCIA has always been to respond faithfully and responsibly to God by apprenticing those whom He sends our way into the fullness of Christian living, to enable them to carry out the mission of the entire people of God in the Church and in the world as disciples of Jesus Christ.” One Rite of Election was held on Feb 25 at Blessed Sacrament Church for the City and West Districts, and another on Feb 26 at the Church of the Holy Spirit for the

East, North and Serangoon Districts. The Mandarin Rite of Election was scheduled to be held at Church of St Michael on March 4. At the Rite of Election in English, Archbishop Nicholas Chia said the occasion is a celebration of the catechumens and candidates’ response to God’s call as well as the start of their “¿nal test” – not a test of knowledge but a test of “surrender and mission”. By “giving your name to God”, the catechumens are “signed up by God” to do “the work of Christ on earth”, “to make the Kingdom visi-

Give all you have ‘ to God ... and receive in return the love that has no end.

– Archbishop Nicholas Chia to the Elect

ble” and that “now is the day of salvation”, Archbishop Chia added. Through baptism, the catechumens will die to their old selves. They will then be able “to feed on God’s word when the false gods of life starve you…turn the other cheek when others curse you [and] be able to confess the kingdom of God, not for your own sake but for the sake of the poor”, Archbishop Chia continued. He also said that God’s word will continue to nourish them, and also challenge them. He then urged catechumens and candidates not to follow the

Catechetical director Fr Erbin

norms of the world, but to “be Christ for others”. The Rite of Election refers to an understanding that God continues to choose people through the

Six relatives to be

From left: Mr Bernard Heng, Mrs Tricia Heng, Bryan Benedict Heng, Ms Javelynn Lola Haryono, Madam Lynn Lorraine Chong and Ms Gina Chong.

Six relatives comprising ¿ve adults and one child will be baptised this Easter. They say that coming together as a family has been a source of strength and motivation throughout their RCIA journey. We have each other for support, said Ms Gina Chong, one of the ¿ve adults to be baptised. Mr Bernard Heng said that while there were times when they felt “lethargic” about attending the sessions, having the “company of everyone keeps the bond together” and helps each one to persevere. His wife, Tricia, agreed, saying they would encourage and remind one another about the RCIA sessions.

It is all about “team spirit”, quipped Mr Heng, adding that as the “chauffeur” of the group, he had the added responsibility of making sure everyone – including his young son, his wife’s two aunts and a cousin – gets to class. Mrs Heng shared that her desire to be a Catholic was due to her son asking about God. The couple saw this as a calling to the faith. Mrs Heng’s aunt, Madam Lynn Lorraine Chong, told CatholicNews that she had faced a situation in Indonesia when she thought she was going to die. At that point of time, she could only think of God and pleaded to God to help her.




Sunday March 11, 2012 „ CatholicNews

new Catholics at Easter share their faith journeys with Darren Boon

do the work of Christ

Deeper understanding of Catholicism


Ms Doreen Houghton

It was through a friend that Ms Doreen Houghton joined the RCIA at Church of St Bernadette. Her friend, who registered her for the programme and accompanied her during the entire journey, would also be her godmother. Ms Houghton said she feels it was “God’s calling” which led her to the RCIA. She added that it has given her

a better understanding of Catholicism, which she had experienced as a student in a convent school. The RCIA also helped her to get a better understanding of the reality of being Catholic, she said. The journey was “easier … and smoother than I thought”, she recalled, adding that she now hopes to continue deepening her faith. „

Five-year journey towards baptism Fernandez holds up the Book of the Elect during the Rite of Election held at Blessed Sacrament Church on Feb 25. .

covenant of baptism, just as He established a covenant with Israel. The rite provides an opportunity for their names to be formally enrolled among God’s chosen people.

The Elect will also undergo a set of rites, called Scrutinies, during the Lenten season to help them examine their lives. The community will pray that the

Elect be freed from temptations and be protected as they continue their journey towards baptism. „

baptised A ‘spiritual renewal” Two strangers came to her assistance, and after that she started attending church. She later heard about the RCIA programme and urged Mrs Heng to sign her as well. She shared that she has become a much calmer person after learning about the faith. For Mr Heng, being Catholic is about “being positive at all times”. He added that the RCIA process has helped him and his wife to be more patient with one another and not lose their temper easily. Meanwhile, all six say they are looking forward to their baptism this Easter. „

The Catholic faith has given Hubert Yeo a “spiritual renewal” of sorts, said the 15-year-old student. He used to have his “head in the clouds”, he shared. However, with the support of the Catholic community, he learnt to be more down to earth. It was the encouragement of his friends and seniors that led him to join the Rite of Christian Initiation for Young Adults (RCIY) at Church of St Mary of the Angels. Yeo shared that the community has been helpful and supportive during the RCIY journey whenever he had any doubts or questions. Yeo, a student at St Joseph’s Institution, and who also studied in a Catholic primary school, is now

Student Hubert Yeo

a member of the Legion of Mary. He said the reÀections and sharings during Legion of Mary activities have also helped in shaping his character. „

The road towards baptism took ¿ve years for Mr Ian Phang. He said that while he had attended RCIA before, he felt that he was not ready for baptism then. However, he had been attending Mass regularly and felt that this helped him stay connected with the faith. “I want to be ready. I want to make sure I can ful¿l my obligations,” he shared. He used to have many questions about the faith, he recalled. However, he has since realised that one is unable to receive all the answers at one go. He also needed time to reconcile his personal beliefs with Church teaching, he added. Mr Phang said he is now ready

Mr Ian Phang

for baptism as he has experienced God’s blessings. Furthermore, he has also seen some changes in his life and the way he views things. Meanwhile, he is grateful for the help from his friends who have done their best in answering his questions about the faith. „


Sunday March 11, 2012 Â&#x201E; CatholicNews

Ella prevents pregnancy by preventing ovulation. No egg is released, so no embryo is formed.

The egg is already released and is fertilized by the sperm to form the embryo. Ella prevents pregnancy by preventing implantation, resulting in the death of the embryo

Sunday March 11, 2012 Â&#x201E; CatholicNews



Sunday March 11, 2012 „ CatholicNews



St Thomas Aquinas

Several hundred years ago, there was a boy who was very big and he was also very quiet. He hardly said anything. The children in school started calling him the “dumb ox!” They were wrong. He wasn’t dumb. Actually, he was quiet because his brain was busy, thinking of many things. When he grew up he became a monk and began to write and to preach. People later found him one of the smartest “thinkers” in the world. Later he became one of the wisest philosophers and teachers in all the history of the Church. His name is Thomas Aquinas. Even though he wrote his books a long time ago, his books are still used today in schools and libraries. All seminarians studying for the priesthood have to read some of his many books he wrote. He was also a holy man and so the Church made him a saint. Remember wise Saint Thomas Aquinas and don’t call any person dumb again! „

Bible Accent: Passover was the religious feast where the Jews celebrated the deliverance of their ancestors from slavery in Egypt. The passing over refers to the angel who was delivering God’s wrath on the households of Egypt. If the angel saw the blood of a lamb on the door of any house, he would “pass over” it and would not deliver God’s wrath on that house. Exodus 12 describes this event in more detail. After the Israelites escaped from Egypt, they wandered in the desert for 40 years before God brought them to the Promised Land, Canaan. Joshua 5 tells us that the Israelites celebrated Passover when they were near the city of Jericho. In the New Testament, Jesus celebrated the Passover feast with his apostles with a meal we know as the Last Supper. „

asked, “This temple has been under construction for 46 years, and you will raise it up in three days?” Jesus was not referring to the temple building. He was talking about the temple that was His body. The apostles remembered these words after Jesus rose from the dead on the third day. Jesus stayed in Jerusalem for the Passover, and He continued to offer

signs and wonders that caused many to believe He was the Son of God. „ Read more about it: John 2 Q&A  :KDW GLG -HVXV ¿QG LQ WKH WHPSOH that made Him so angry? 2. What sign did Jesus offer to the Jews?


Kids’ Club: Share your thoughts on this week’s Bible story with family and friends by writing an essay in response to this question:

Why is Lent such an important part of the preparation for Easter?













More than half of the books of the Bible are named after people. In most cases, the books are named after the authors of those books. Below are some books of the Bible not named after people. Cross out the names of the books that are not in the Bible. Bishops Chronicles Credentials Deuteronomy Ecclesiastes Ecumenicals Judges Kings Numerology Queens

Answer to Wordsearch

The people of Jerusalem were preparing for the celebration of the Passover feast, which was not far off. Jesus thought this would be a good time to visit Jerusalem, so He went there with His apostles. But Jesus was not happy about what He found when He arrived. When He reached the temple, He found a place that looked more like a shopping area instead of a place of worship. Tables had been set up. Merchants were selling oxen, sheep and doves. Money changers, men who exchanged currency of different regions or countries for a pro¿t, also were busy making money off of their customers.

Jesus was furious. He found some cords and made a whip out of them. Then He used it to drive the merchants and the money changers away. He threw the coins of the money changers on the ground and overturned all of the tables. To the men selling doves He said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” When the apostles saw what Jesus had done they remembered the words written in the Psalms, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews said to Him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus replied, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews could not believe what Jesus had said to them, so they

Answer for Puzzle: Bishops, Credentials, Ecumenicals, Numerology, Queens

By Joe Sarnicola


Sunday March 11, 2012 „ CatholicNews

EVENT SUBMISSIONS We welcome information of events happening in our local Church. Please send your submission at least one month before the event. Online submissions can be made at

Tuesdays until April 3 STATIONS OF THE CROSS@ SUNTEC THE ROCK After 12.15pm Mass and before 1.15pm Mass. At Suntec City The Rock Auditorium (Level 3). By Catholic Prayer Society Saturdays March 3 to March 31 FOLLOWING JESUS WITH MARY 9.30am-12pm: A Lenten rosary retreat that invites us to a closer contemplative following of Jesus with Mary. By Cenacle Sisters. At The Cenacle (47 Jurong West St 42). Register E: Mondays March 5 to April 2 LENTEN REFLECTION 12.30-1.30pm: Lenten reÀection using the booklet provided by the church. By Catholic Prayer Society. At 206/208B Telok Ayer St. E: Wednesday March 7, Tuesdays March 13 to March 20 HISTORY OF THE SOCIETY OF JESUS (JESUITS) 9.30am-12pm: Scholastic Jerome Leon, SJ, will take us on the path of the Jesuits from St Ignatius of Loyola to St Francis Xavier and the thrust of the society into Asia with sessions on St Francis Xavier, the martyrs of Japan and Mandarin Jesuits of China. By CANA The Catholic Centre. At 55 Waterloo St (Level 2). T: 6336 4815, 6336 4467; E: Friday March 9 to Sunday March 11 FMDM VOCATION DISCERNMENT WEEKEND 7.30pm (Fri) – 3pm (Sun): For single women aged 23-35. By FMDM Vocation Team. At St Francis Convent (810 Thomson Rd). Register T: 8416 1365 (Sr Angelin G), 9362 5048 (Sr Angeline), E:, Saturday March 10 to Sunday March 11 LANDSCAPE CROSSING RETREAT For cancer patients, survivors and caregivers, with Sunday Mass. At Lifesprings Canossian Spirituality Centre (100 Jalan Merbok). T: 9012 4778 (Sr Margaret); E:

March 10 MEDITATIVE PRAYER USING THE SONGS OF TAIZE 8-9.30pm: At the Armenian Church of St Gregory the Illuminator (60 Hill St). T: 9837 7256; E: For information on Taize W: http://www. March 11 CATHOLIC SINGLES MEET UP FOR MASS AND LUNCH 10am: A good chance for fellowship among Catholic singles. Starting with Sunday Mass at St Joseph Church Victoria St, followed by lunch at Marina Square. Meet at church canteen. Register E: FB: CatholicSinglesSingapore Thursday March 15 to Sunday March 18 PARISH RENEWAL EXPERIENCE 7.30-10pm (Thurs-Fri), 1.30-10pm (Sat-Sun): PRE is a weekend conversion experience like no other. Explore what it means to be Catholic and how we see Jesus in our fellow Catholics. At Church of the Risen Christ. St Peter’s Auditorium Level 2). T: 9843 6494 (John Bosco); E:; W: March 17 GROWING IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS 1.30-6pm: Join award-winning author from United States, Friar Michael Crosby, OFM Cap, in this workshop that aims to help individuals, couples, parents, teams, workgroups, communities ¿nd a way to address challenging areas in their relationships. Learn how to resolve conÀicted relationships and how to build trusting relationships that bring more non-violence, love and compassion into our world. At Church of St Mary of the Angels. Cost: $10. Register T: 6567 3866; E:; W: March 18 LENTEN REFLECTION AND ADORATION IN TAMIL 2-6pm: With Mass at 7pm. At Blessed Sacrament Church (Damien Centre, St Peter’s Room, Level 3) All welcome. March 29 WALKING THE WAY OF THE CROSS: A LABYRINTH EXPERIENCE 9.30am-4pm: Journey with Christ on the Way of the Cross through prayer, meditation and contemplation. Facilitated by Roselie Chia and Diana Tan (trained labyrinth facilitators). By Centre for Ignatian Spirituality and Counselling. At 8 Victoria Park Rd (St Ignatius Hall Annexe). Cost: $30. T: 64676072; E:

Friday March 30 to Sunday April 1 POLYTECHNIC RETREAT 2012 7pm (Fri) –4pm (Sun): Combined polytechnic camp. Join and make new friends before the new academic year starts. Join the Catholic youth group in your polytechnic and make your student years more Catholic and exciting. At Catholic Archdiocesan Youth Centre. Register T: 8126 6205 (Patricia), 9825 1064 (Francis); E:, W: Thursday April 5 to Saturday April 8 HOLY WEEK ARTFULLY LIVED 8-9.30pm (Thu); 10am-4pm (Fri-Sun): A 4-day art retreat based on the events of Jesus’ last week. Conducted by visiting friar, Fr John Quigley OFM. No art skills necessary. Participants of all ages and backgrounds welcome. At Church of St Mary of the Angels (5 Bt Batok East Ave 2). Cost: $200 (inclusive of basic art materials & lunch). No refunds for no-show days. Cheque payment to Church of St Mary of the Angels with participant’s name and contact indicated on reverse of cheque. Register by Mar 18. Register E: Tuesday April 10 to Thursday April 12 PAINTING MY WAY TO GOD 10am-1pm (morning workshop); 7.30-9.30pm (talk): Fr John Quigley OFM, will combine morning creative time with an evening talk on mysticism and art. Through art creation and shared reÀections, participants will explore their spiritual journeys in a creative manner. No art skills necessary. At Church of St Mary of the Angels (5 Bt Batok East Ave 2). Cost: $60 (inclusive of basic art materials) or $20 (per evening talk). Register by Mar 18. Register E: Fridays April 13 to April 27 INTRODUCTION TO THE 2ND VATICAN COUNCIL 8-10pm: 2012 is the 50th anniversary of the opening of 2nd Vatican Council. Find out what this much heard-about council was about. By SPI. At CAEC (2 Highland Rd). T: 6858 3011; E: April 14 FINDING GOD IN YOUR WRITING 6-11pm: Learn to write your sacred story. Through writing exercises and other activities, explore and express your inmost thoughts and feelings and gain a deeper understanding of self and your relationship with others and with God. No prior writing experience required. Facilitated by Roselie Chia (trained writing group leader).

Cost: $80 (including lunch). By Centre for Ignatian Spirituality and Counselling. At 8 Victoria Park Rd. T: 64676072; F: 6468 7584; E:

Music in this talk. At CANA The Catholic Centre (55 Waterloo St Level 2). Register T: 6336 4815, 6336 4467; E:

Wednesday April 25 to Saturday April 28 PSYCHO-SPIRITUAL TALKS 7pm (daily): Talks by Fr Michele Vezzoli on Enneagram and Spiritual Growth, Transactional Analysis & Relationship with God, Stages of Spiritual Growth, Prayer in the Modern World. By LifeSprings Canossian Spirituality Centre. At Canossa Convent Primary School (1 Sallim Rd). Register T: 6466 2178; E:; W: April 27 CONTEMPORARY JESUIT HYMNS: THEOLOGICAL UNDERSTANDING OF LITURGICAL MUSIC 7.30-9.30pm: Liturgical music is properly a theological enterprise, expressing in aesthetic form the faith of the contemporary Church. Explore salient theological aspects of Jesuit Liturgical

Monday April 30 to Thursday May 3 SCHOOL CHAPLAINCY TRAINING 9.30am-1pm 3 day training course for new members of School Chaplaincy Teams by Dr Michael Downey. By ACCS. At CAEC (2 Highland Rd). T: 6858 7085 (Louis). E: Wednesdays May 2 to May 16 FINDING GOD IN YOUR READING 8-9.30pm: Based on Mitch Albom’s Have a Little Faith and, through Ignatian prayer, discover how to reÀect on life, the environment and their relationships with the Divine. A teacher, a mother, and a medical doctor will share their personal reÀections. Persons of all faiths welcome. Kindly read the book beforehand. Facilitated by Fr Leslie Raj, SJ. Love offering. By Centre for Ignatian Spirituality and Counselling. At 8 Victoria Park Rd. T: 64676072; F: 6468 7584; E:

Crossword Puzzle 1053 1
























































23 25






RCIA/RCIY A journey for those seeking to know more about the Catholic faith. Baptised Catholics are also invited to journey as sponsors. Saturdays from March 17 RCIY@CHURCH OF ST MARY OF THE ANGELS 3.30-6.30pm: For youths aged 13-20 years. At Church of St Mary of the Angels. T: 9100 4382 (Andrew), E: Thursdays from April 26 RCIA@BLESSED SACRAMENT CHURCH 7.30-9pm: At Blessed Sacrament Church (1 Commonwealth Drive). T: 6474 0582, E: Registration forms available at parish of¿ce or through request by email. Fridays from April 27 RCIA@CHURCH OF ST TERESA 7.45-9.15pm: At Church of St Teresa (St Paul Room Level 4 Parish House). T: 6271 1184, E: Thursdays from May 31 RCIA@CHURCH OF THE HOLY SPIRIT 8-10pm: At Church of the Holy Spirit (248 Upper Thomson Rd). T: 9010 2829, E:

ACROSS 1 Charity 5 Funeral ¿res 10 PC hookup 13 Debatable 14 Island inhabited by Circe 15 Place 17 Nobel Institute city 18 Priestly 20 Furtive 22 Where Jesus went for 40 days 23 Greek goddess of the dawn 24 Deride 25 Patron saint of Scandinavia 29 Small 33 One of the prophets 34 Rive Gauche sights 35 The Dead or the Red 36 Former Russian ruler 37 Mongrels 38 Taxis 39 Lever for rowing 40 Wearies 41 Midwest hub 42 Brief joke 44 Disorderly disturbance 45 Wading bird 46 Agency headed by uncle of Cardinal Dulles 47 Very handsome

young man 50 Reading disorder 55 First ¿ve books of the Old Testament 57 Lends a hand 58 Tempo 59 Eleve’s place 60 Fine fabric 61 N.J. neighbor 62 They were found in Juan Diego’s cape at Guadalupe 63 Gifts for dad DOWN 1 French-speaking Canadian diocese 2 The ___ Sheep 3 Underground mammal 4 Portico 5 Parish leader 6 Okays 7 Suggestive 8 Loafer letters 9 They’re packed 10 Shuts 11 Religious ceremony 12 Rip 16 Maximum (abbr.) 19 In some versions of The Lord’s Prayer, trespasses are called these 21 She and her sister Rachel were both married to Jacob

24 What the Magi brought 25 “Are not!” rejoinder 26 Jewish month of Passover 27 Frighten 28 Freshwater ¿sh 29 “___ Noster” 30 Husband of Rebekah 31 Horselike African mammal 32 Relaxes 34 Heals 37 ___ of Hospitality 38 Half a dance? 40 Leg bone 41 Like much lore 43 Window support

44 Jesus multiplied these 46 Recurring series 47 Computer programme, for short 48 David asked Saul if he pursued a “___ dog” (1 Sam 24:14) 49 A single time 50 Pairs 51 The Wise Men came from here 52 Unlucky in Rome? 53 These hands are the devil’s workshop 54 Inquires 56 The Name of the Rose author

Solution to Crossword Puzzle No. 1052 S I N A I A C O R N M E D I T A R O P I C C O L A D L A I D E A L T N R A C K E L K A I N U M A B S O R B R I T U A L A G O G E B O R A S S T E T T












Sunday March 11, 2012 „ CatholicNews

Rediscovering our own baptism during Lent means rediscovering who we are and what we are meant to do By David Gibson


RAVELLING the road that takes you from Ash Wednesday to Easter, you’ll notice many signs pointing to baptism. Baptism sets a tone for Lent. Historically, Christianity viewed Easter as the year’s principal time for baptisms. Today, baptisms are celebrated in most Catholic parishes during the Easter Vigil. Those present for the vigil are invited to renew their own baptismal promises. In this way, they reaf¿rm their identity with Christ, whose death and resurrection gives meaning to all the small and large deaths and resurrections that mark their own lives. During one Easter Vigil, when Pope Benedict XVI baptised people from various nations at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, he cautioned against minimising the sacrament’s purpose. Baptism, he said, should not be understood as a “mere cleansing”. Neither is baptism “a somewhat complicated initiation into a new association”. Instead, the pope described baptism as “death and resurrection, rebirth to new life”. There is so much to say about baptism and Lent. I want to zero-in on just two points – that rediscovering our own baptism means rediscovering both who we are and what we are meant to do. Lent prompts consideration of these same points: „ Our identity as members of

Christ’s body, and „ The kinds of action that express that identity. Baptism is something like a gate that opens in two directions. As the gate opens inward, the meaning of our life and all it can be is glimpsed. Remember, baptism powerfully joins people to Christ’s body. St Paul urged the ancient Christians to view themselves as “baptised into Christ Jesus” (Rom 6:3). The identity of baptised people is forged through this unity with Christ. That does not mean, though, that this unity restricts them from fully becoming who they are as unique individuals. Unity with Christ frees and energises the baptised to become who they have chosen to be. In the ¿rst place, then, Lent is an opportunity to rediscover our chosen identity – to explore it and come more completely to terms with it. This is a never-ending exploration. After all, we’ll never exhaust the possibility of coming to adulthood in the virtue of hope, nor will love’s horizons cease expanding before us with each step we take. People talk a lot these days about self-image, which has to do with how we view ourselves and want others to view us. This is what a baptised person’s identity with Christ’s body is about too. Baptised people ask themselves who they intend to be, what their lives centre upon and how they want to be viewed by themselves, by others and by God. So, as a gate, baptism swings

Baptisms are celebrated in most Catholic parishes during the Easter Vigil. &16¿OHSKRWR

Lent is an opportunity to rediscover our FKRVHQLGHQWLW\±WRH[SORUHLWDQGFRPH PRUHFRPSOHWHO\WRWHUPVZLWKLW inward to reveal our identity, centred in Christ. People who take seriously the signs pointing to baptism during Lent are likely to take time to explore who and what shapes their life, and how they want to develop as persons. As a gate, however, baptism also opens outward to the world and the people around us. It is a needy world where ordinary peo-

ple encounter great, sometimes overwhelming, challenges. What is the work of Christ’s body? The Gospels show Christ as a caregiver, particularly concerned about the sick and others who suffer. Christ spent time with people who needed His companionship. He shared His life with others. And of course, Christ fed the hungry. And that’s just for starters. The

By Fr Lawrence E. Mick


OME things have been around so long that we assume they were always there. Lent, for example, has been part of the Church’s liturgical year for many centuries, but there was a time when no such season existed. This season developed in the Church’s early centuries from the convergence of three factors. One was the impulse to fast before a major feast. This is a common practice in many religions. People heighten their anticipation of the feast by fasting just before it. In the early Church, it became customary to fast for a day or two before Easter. This paschal fast was then extended to a full week, and by the time of the Council of

Nicaea (AD 325), it lasted 40 days. A second source of Lent was the catechumenate. This process of formation for the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Con¿rmation and Eucharist) has been restored in our own time, so many people are familiar with it today. After months or even years of formation in the Christian way of life, those who are ready for the sacraments enter into a period of prayer and fasting for several weeks as a kind of spiritual retreat leading up to the Easter Vigil and the celebration of those sacraments.

The third factor in Lent’s development was the Order of Penitents. This was a form of the Sacrament of Penance that was modelled on the catechumenate. It provided a second opportunity for true conversion for those who had seriously sinned after baptism. Since the initial conversion was apparently not deep enough, the Order of Penitents sought to provoke a deeper conversion of heart and life. The penitents carried out their assigned penances over a period of time, often culminating in reconciliation with the community

on Holy Thursday. Over time, the rest of the community began to join the catechumens and the penitents in this period of spiritual discipline, giving rise to what we now call Lent. The length of Lent has varied over the centuries, but eventually the symbolic number of 40 days won out as the ideal length. The Second Vatican Council (1962-65) called for a renewed focus on the baptismal aspects of Lent along with its penitential aspects. This was signi¿cantly accomplished through the restora-

expansive work of Christ’s body extends from prayer and worship to public policy promoting the common good, justice and the protection of God’s creation itself. It is noteworthy that St Paul’s discussion of our giftedness as members of Christ’s body in 1 Corinthians 12 is followed immediately by a discussion of love. “Faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (13:1-13). The truth is, we can carry out many worthwhile actions rather well, but Christ’s body has the goal of carrying them out in loving ways. „ CNS

tion of the catechumenate. As the catechumens (called “the Elect” after the Rite of Election, usually celebrated on the ¿rst Sunday of Lent) prepare for the Easter sacraments, those already baptised prepare to renew their baptismal commitment. The very presence of the Elect in the midst of the parish community reminds us all that Lent is about baptism and the renewal of baptism. The celebration of the Sacrament of Penance – called “second baptism” by early Church writers, the required fast and abstinence and other Lenten observances, are all aimed at fostering a deeper conversion of heart and a fuller living out of the faith commitment that baptism entails. „ CNS Fr Mick is a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA


MARCH 11, 2012, Vol 62, No 05  
MARCH 11, 2012, Vol 62, No 05  

2 Asians among new cardinals created