From the Editor’s desk Dear parishioners In his message on the occasion of World Mission Sunday 2011, our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI reminds all baptized Catholics to be actively involved in the evangelizing work of the Church as a Christian way of life. Our immediate reaction would be similar to the rich man who said to Jesus “What must I do” (Lk 10:25). How can I become bread for others? By responding to His call – to live out the Good News wherever we are and to share our faith not just within our Parish boundaries but beyond borders and to walk in solidarity with our Catholic brethren around the world. We who have encountered the Lord in the Eucharist Celebration – at the breaking of bread and in the liturgy – at the breaking of the Word – are called to share what we have seen and heard, to enlighten all those who seek to walk in the truth and to live in the light. We are called to be his messengers to many in this world experiencing an emptiness in their lives because they do not know Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit and have not heard His message of salvation even after two thousand years. Mission Sunday reminds us – young and old alike - of our responsibility to be a star to the multitudes who are thirsting for God and searching for true happiness and to lead them to Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn 14:6). This year, the Parish Pastoral Council provides us with the opportunity to participate in building the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Haikou, China. As we reflect on our missionary vocation, we should have no cause for regret “If only I had had the heart to give everything” (cf Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali n 50) but we should be able to look back with a clear conscience and with satisfaction knowing that we have been faithful to our calling in life before God and man. Will you continue to wait until our Lord asks, “Why are you standing here idle all day?” only to respond “Because no one has hired us” (Mt 20:6-7) or will you rise up to work in His vineyard. The Lord needs each one of you. The choice is yours. God bless. Violet Rosario
auf Wiedersehen On behalf of our parish, I would like to thank Rev Fr Chris Lee and Rev Dn Clement Chen for their services and their contribution to the Church of the Holy Family.
Fr Chris’ last Neighbourhood Mass with JCNCC
As a young seminarian, Fr Chris was posted to our parish in Jan 2005 and ordained a deacon a few months later. He remained here until his ordination to priesthood in Aug 2005 and has served as Assistant priest since then. Fr Chris was the epitome of humility, living up fully to his priestly vows of humility, charity, chastity and dying to himself. We are grateful for his many silent achievements, for his pastoral outreach and for his encouragement and guidance to various MOGs - RCIA, Elderly Group, the Sick and the Youth to name but a few. He has no doubt touched the hearts and lives of many of our parishioners who will miss him greatly. He always went out of his way, even on a busy Sunday afternoon, to baptize a very sick man in our neighbourhood. We hope that Fr Chris’ love and sacrifice will inspire our Parishioners to come forward to participate in and cheerfully contribute their God-given gifts and talents for our Parish Mission “One Church One Family”. Deacon Clement was posted to our parish when he returned to Singapore two years ago. He made a history of sorts by being the first deacon in Singapore. Most of us would have enjoyed and benefited from his thoughtful and engaging homilies and would have been inspired by his spiritual calling and by his journey from the corporate world to church. He stands as a role model to all the lay faithful. As we offer both of them our prayers and best wishes in their new roles, I also take this opportunity to warmly welcome Rev Fr Damian in our midst. Helence Lim Chairperson PPC EXCO 2011-13 and the NCCs
Why the need for a New Roman Missal The Roman Missal is the book which contains the prayers and texts of the Mass. Come 27 November 2011 (the first Sunday of Advent), parishioners in Singapore will be adjusting to the way the Mass is said. The change will not only affect Singaporeans but Catholics in English-speaking countries all over the world. The present form of the Mass has been with us for some 36 years now since it was implemented in 1975. So why the need for change? To answer that question, we need to go back in time when Mass was originally conducted in Latin. Then came the momentous decision in 1962 at the Second Vatican Council when it was decided that the vernacular language (mother tongue) be used instead to say Mass in order to help people who didn’t understand Latin follow what the priest was saying. The central idea was that there ought to be greater lay participation in the liturgy. So in the mid-1960s, permission was granted to celebrate most of the Mass in vernacular languages. But the official text of the Roman Missal, on which translations into vernacular languages were to be based, remained in Latin. So various councils were formed and tasked to translate the Latin text into the various languages used around the world including English. Generally speaking, there are 2 ways to translate languages: you can use a literal word for word translation (which may sometimes not capture the main idea that the text is trying to convey) or you can use what is called a “dynamic method” of translating which aims to capture the main idea expressed in the text at the expense of literal accuracy. As a very crude example, if we translate the Chinese phrase “你好吗” using the literal method, it could read in English as “Are you good?” But if we adopt the dynamic method, it would read as “How are you?”
The new revised Roman Missal uses a more literal form of translation in order to stay true to the original Latin text and in order to be consistent with translations made into other languages. For example, the Greeting in present liturgy is as follows: Priest: The Lord be with You. Congregation: And also with You. The new revised Roman Missal will read as follows: Priest: The Lord be with You. Congregation: And with your Spirit. Recent scholarship has recognized the need for a more precise translation capable of expressing the full meaning of the Latin text and the phrase “And with your spirit” is a more correct rendering of the original latin phrase “et cum spiritu tuo”. Also, in comparison, the Italian (E con il tuo spirito), French (Et avec votre esprit), Spanish (Y con tu espíritu) and German (Und mit deinem Geiste) renderings all translated the Latin word “spiritu” accurately. The phrase “And with your spirit” did not come about by accident and is inspired by passages that conclude four of St Paul’s letters. For example, at the end of his letter to the Philippians, Paul writes: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Philippians 4:23). Also Paul ends his second letter to his friend Timothy by saying “The Lord be with your spirit” (2 Timothy 4:22). The main objective in promulgating a new revised Roman Missal is to help Catholics better connect the words of the Mass to Scripture readings without affecting the substance and essence of the Mass. In short, the revised Roman Missal is a more faithful and accurate translation of the original Latin text and retains the richness of metaphor and imagery of the Latin text as well as sacred language of the liturgy.
Mark Ortega is a member of the PPC Exco 2011-13 and has been a catechist for 6 years. He works as a Legal Counsel to a public-listed company in Singapore and is married with three sons.
John Main and the WCCM Stella Kon
John Main, the founder of Christian Meditation, began his working life in Malaya, in the British Colonial Service. In 1954, his office sent him on a routine visit to the Pure Life Society Orphanage in Kuala Lumpur, to deliver a good-will greeting to its Director – Swami Satyananda. John Main was very impressed by the serenity and the holiness of this Hindu monk. When the official business was over, they started talking about prayer, especially about the Swami’s way of repeating a mantra during the whole period of his meditation. Soon John Main found himself asking the Swami whether he as a Christian could learn to pray in this way. The Swami smiled and told him that it could only make him a better Christian and advised John Main to use the word “Jesus” as his mantra. John Main began to meditate regularly. A few years later he returned to England and became a Benedictine monk. However his novice master, thinking that meditation was not a Christian way of prayer, told him to give up the practice. John Main was disappointed but obeyed. More than ten years later, he was overjoyed to discover the practice which had been taught to him by the Swami described in the writing of the Christian monk, John Cassian, a Desert Father of the 4th century. Cassian wrote of “the practice of using a single short phrase to achieve the stillness necessary for prayer”. John Main returned to the practice of the mantra and began to share it with others. Meditation was then mostly thought of as something for monastics and religious. John Main taught it to lay people as well as religious, and to young and old, through meditation groups, books and retreats. In 1975, he opened the first Christian Meditation Centre at Ealing Abbey in London. The community began to spread and meditation groups developed in many countries. John Main died in 1982. His student, Fr Laurence Freeman, OSB took over his work, and became the Director of the Community founded by John Main.
In meditation we come to awareness of the Spirit who dwells in our hearts, and in silence is loving to all. - John Main’s key learning from Swami Satyananda
In 1991, at the John Main Seminar in New Harmony, Indiana, meditators from many parts of the world came together and officially formed The World Community for Christian Meditation – a “monastery without walls” for meditators everywhere. The symbol of the community is an ancient image of two doves – representing the union of the active and contemplative dimensions of life. WCCM is now growing in more than 100 countries where individuals, weekly groups and centres share the vision of peace and fullness of being, that are the spiritual fruits of meditation. WCCM Singapore began at Holy Family Church, in February 1988. Peter Ng and his wife Patricia, who had
been meditating for a while, arranged with Fr Alfred Chan for Fr Laurence Freeman to give a talk in the church for parishioners. They were astounded by the huge turnout of about four hundred people, showing that there was a widespread hunger for this way of prayer. Peter and Patricia founded the first Singapore group in Holy Family Parish. Today there are more than 31 groups in 22 parishes. WCCM Singapore conducts talks and workshops for the community and gives introductory workshops in new parishes by invitation. Meditation for Children “Children are born contemplatives,” says Fr Laurence Freeman. A meditation programme for children is taught in parish schools in the diocese of Townsville in Queensland, Australia. WCCM Singapore is now working with catechists and schools, to start such a programme in local schools and catechism classes.
This article was compiled from many sources especially the talks of Peter Ng and the writings of Laurence Freeman. Books and other resources on Christian Meditation can be obtained from the bookstore outside the Meditation Room (contact Daulet at 64697671 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org). The book and CDs referred alongside can also be obtained from Katong Catholic Bookstore, next to Holy Family Church. This is the concluding article in our series on Christian Meditation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Christian meditation
Q Is Meditation an Eastern form of prayer?
It is found in all religious traditions, as a wordless, silent form of prayer. In the Christian sphere it existed as far back as the Desert Fathers of the 4th Century. In later years it was de-emphasised and almost forgotten, although many people were still practising it in an informal way. John Main re-discovered the early Christian roots of meditation, and taught it within a deeply Christian theology.
How To Meditate
meditate at home by myself, so why do I need to join Q Ia can meditation group?
The weekly meditation group encourages and strengthens us in our daily practice at home. It also builds a very special kind of ‘community’. John Main said: “There is a new and wonderful dimension added to prayer when we can find brethren with whom we can share this experience. In sharing our meditation together, we similarly accept one another as we are. The solitude of our meditation is the foundation stone on which we build all communion, true communion with ourselves, with others and with God.”
Q Must I be a Catholic to join a meditation group?
The Christian Meditation community is very open to other faiths, and at the international John Main seminars it is not unusual to see robed Buddhist monks meditating together with the rest. In Singapore, although most of the meditation groups are housed in Catholic parish premises, there are quite a few non-Catholic Christians among our meditators.
Q Where can I get more information on Meditation?
You can find out more about Christian Meditation at www.wccm.org and www.wccmsingapore.org. You can refer www.mediomedia.com for the catalogue of publications and DVDs or drop an email to email@example.com to find the nearest meditation group. Please send all your queries on meditation to: meditatorQA@gmail.com
Sit down. Sit still and upright. Close your eyes lightly. Sit relaxed but alert.
Silently, interiorly, begin to say a single word. We recommend the prayer-phrase “maranatha”. Recite it as four syllables of equal length: Ma-ra-na-tha.
Listen to it as you say it, gently but continuously. Do not think or imagine anything, spiritual or otherwise.
If thoughts or images come, these are distractions at the time of meditation, so keep returning to simply saying the word.
Meditate each morning and evening for 20 to 30 minutes.
GROUPS & TIME
Tuesday, 8pm (Beginners group)
Rebecca (Hp: 9835 7835) Stella (Hp: 9644 4342)
Francis (Hp: 9368 7773)
Friday, 8pm (Young Adults group)
Duane (Hp: 9748 6673)
Mission Sunday Project 2011
Journeying with God in Building a New Church
The purpose of refurbishing and building the holy temple of the Lord is to glorify God and to evangelize His presence through a visible holy place. With gratitude, all our parishioners donated generously, taking immense pride in loving God and in building the church. The journey of building the church in Haikou city of Hainan Province As Hainan Province is an independent administrative zone, the management of church matters is likewise independent. In 2004, we planned to build a new church as the existing premises could no longer cater to the needs of evangelization and the ever-growing population of new Catholics. Entrusting to God, we embarked on the journey. Such a huge project was unthinkable for a small diocese like Hainan, which lacked the financial foundation and stable flow of income. Most of our parishioners live in poverty. But we had a common vision, a dream, a wish of a big church. Since 2004, we humbly started offering our prayers toward this noble and sacred undertaking, trusting God whole-heartedly as our only source of strength. One year later, on Dec 19, 2005, we finally acquired the land for building the church. The journey of fund-raising Starting Dec 19, 2005, we mobilized our parishioners to raise funds for the church building. Local and overseas Catholics gave generously and funds started to pour in with each love offering. In 2005, we estimated a need of RMB 3,500,000 - an astronomical sum to us but we were not overwhelmed. Instead, we relied on God even more steadfastly, surrendering to His will. On May 6, 2010, the foundation of the new church was laid, signaling that a brand new church will soon stand tall in Haikou City and the Catholic Church will present itself with a new face to the world. The blessing of the new church would bring new opportunities for evangelization. However, God cracked a joke on us. By 2010, due to skyrocketing prices, the building costs rose by two-third to RMB 5,000,000. Once again we had to take on this sudden pressure. Since we had exhausted the list of people from whom we could ask for help, it was like falling into darkness once again. In spite of this, our team motivated one another to give our best and to be prepared to accept whatever God had in store for us. Besides relying on God, there was nothing more we could do. True enough, God heard our humble prayers and sent benefactors such as Mrs Jeannie Tien, Sister Long and others to help us. Thank you Lord. The journey of community growth Due to their active involvement and participation in building the church, the parishioners, especially the youth, have grown tremendously in faith. All recognized that after the completion of the new church with its expanded space and environment for evangelization, they must continually deepen their knowledge of faith as well as the church in order to respond evangelically to those who seek faith. Programs in our parish include Bible study and training of Catechists every Friday, learning the singing of hymns every Sunday, sharing of daily lives and the Word of God every first Saturday. To adapt to the needs of city development, both hardware and software are to be constantly upgraded. We thank God and our benefactors that as of today, renovation work in the new church has begun. Handover is scheduled for end October. However, the inauguration date has not yet been fixed. Auxiliary facilities need to be built. We sincerely solicit your prayers and your help. May more people be evangelized on the soil of Hainan. Fr Paul Yang in front of the sanctuary
We thank Peter Teo (photograph on right) for translating the Mandarin article by Fr Paul Yang for the benefit of our English speaking parishioners. - Editor
Mission Sunday Project 2011 / Mandarin Section
Rev Fr Paul Yang Parish Priest
Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Haikou, China
How God Brings Out the Best in us Mark Chew through our Character Flaws Most of you would have read or studied English literature in secondary school. Do you remember the stories by William Shakespeare such as Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Hamlet? One common factor about the protagonists in these tragedies is that they always possess a serious character flaw. Romeo was a flirt. His impulsive, capricious, and often times unpremeditated demeanour led to the demise of himself and of his beloved Juliet. Macbeth was ambitious and yet hen-pecked. While he yearned for the King’s crown, he was too passive, and was often influenced by his wife. Hamlet was a procrastinating prince. His high intellect compelled him to be overly cautious and to procrastinate most of the time. The famous line, “Thus conscience does make cowards of us all.” shows us Hamlet’s train of thoughts. He was a person who often stopped to think before acting but the more he thought, the less he did. These character flaws teach us very important lessons. They add depth and humanity to the storyline, and portray imperfection and limitations to the character.
Our Flawed Biblical Heroes
We live in a world wherein superlatives such as “perfect” and “bigger” seem to define our expectations of life. However even as we look forward towards the season of Advent, we may want to pause and reflect on how God does some of his best work with small beginnings and impossible situations. Take a look at the following incidents in the Bible. Do you know who these biblical leaders are? A man who lied to save his own skin and wife A man who murdered and hid the act A cheat who struggles with everyone A boastful and arrogant young man A man who committed adultery and indirectly killed another man A man constantly filled with self doubt and fear The common flaw common to each of these heroes is “Fear”. However, before judging them, you should ask yourself a few questions. For fear of being “out-of-place” with friends, would you set aside your values? For fear of losing out to others in the workplace, would you compromise your integrity? For fear of losing control over your children’s behaviour, would you lose your temper, and scream at them?
Why do we have Character Flaws?
Our character flaws are therefore the right setting wherein you see the manifestation of God’s love and amazing mercy taking place within us. “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” (Ps 145:8)
God uses people who fall down, mess up, and trip up just like you and I. Their faults did not stop God from using them to save nations, do miracles, or win souls for Him. Each of the above heroes became great leaders because they gave their best, and God did the rest. So there will be times, when we find ourselves living mad, sad, and miserable lives. There will be times when we expect more out of people around us than God expects out of them. There will be times when we expect too much out of ourselves. We get frustrated and angry because we are trying to be perfect. However, if we were perfect, then we would think that everything we did was because of our own strengths. This is the same reason why God gave Gideon instructions to select only three hundred soldiers to defeat the Midianites. In Judges 7:2, the Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ ”
Our Lord’s Compassion and Mercy
There are many leaders with differing leadership styles serving God. And they definitely have their own character flaws. However the one common factor that binds these leaders together is true compassion and mercy. John wrote one of the most succinct verses in the Bible, “Jesus wept.” (Jn 11:35) This verse occurs in John's narrative of the death of Lazarus. You may be thinking “But didn’t Jesus know that he could revive the dead? So why did he still weep?” Because Lazarus really died! Jesus felt the pain and sorrow of those whom he loved. Death, at this point still had its deadly sting and hold over men. Jesus wept when he thought about this excruciating thought. This shows Jesus to be a firm and friendly leader. His true nature is not to be high and almighty. He is willing to do all that is necessary to feel our beating hearts. Therefore, we can do more as leaders in this imperfect world by aligning our hearts and minds to Jesus. So don’t worry yourself silly trying to be a perfect leader. Acknowledge your character flaws. Consolidate your strengths. Dedicate yourself to God. Then allow Him to bring out the best in you as an authentic Christian leader. P.S: If you have the answers to the above quiz on biblical leaders, contact me and share your views!
Mark Chew was a cradle-born Methodist. He was baptized at Holy Family Church in 2006. He is the founder and principal strategist of Giants Learning Technologies. He specializes in Personal Mastery and Leadership. He is the author of "Discover Your Leadership Style". You may contact him at http://chewmark.com/ and www.facebook.com/Discoveryourleadershipstyle.
Answering the call to be lay apostles I used to be a Sunday Catholic – never missed Sunday mass and the days of obligation, ensured my children attend Mass and catechism class every Sunday. Of course, Mass can be boring sometimes and is difficult to concentrate but I had to fulfill my Sunday obligation although I could never understand how my father-in-law could attend daily Mass. It was through RCIA that I came to understand the importance of the Christian Community. As a RCIA sponsor, I enjoyed journeying with the catechumens to find God and to accept the faith although I felt there is a missing link for the newly baptized. Also I heard of many who were late for the RCIA journey and had to wait for the next intake. My heart sank just thinking what if the desire died by then. I had the vision that there must be a community to serve and journey with them. In 2006 I said YES to the calling to revive my NCC. Of course, I wanted to fulfill that vision. It was scary. I didn’t know how to start, what to do, who they are. But God never left me to handle it alone. He sent me friends who were willing to stand by me and that’s how we started our NCC. It was not an easy mission but the reward was in abundance. NCC helped me understand that church does not stop at Church of the Holy Family. It continues after Mass right up to my door step, my neighbourhood, my extended family.
Cecilia Goh with her family
I reached out to all - both Catholic and non Catholic - building relationships in our neighbourhood. Now I have so many friends and we go for kopi, games, tennis, makan etc. We share our joys and our pains and struggles together. The young and the elderly gather together just like a family - listening and learning from each other. Christ is our centre. We meet Christ through our monthly gathering for prayer, Bible sharing, worship and fellowship. With Christ through the community, I am able to live my faith by caring and serving others. Of course, I fulfill my vision to be able to walk with the catechumens and the neophytes in their faith journey.
Now I am a fully alive Catholic and church is my life, mass is sacred and meaningful. Indeed it is a great joy when I meet so many friends in church.
the NCC that I first learnt to pray the Cecilia Goh Coordinator - Marine Crescent NCC rosary and recite the Divine Mercy (beautifully led by Albert Chitty at his home in Marine Terrace). My faith horizon broadened as I met many wonderful people What does Lay Apostolate mean to me? It means seeking (always wonderful when you get to know them better) God’s kingdom as I go about my daily mundane routine. and developed a number of good friends, one of whom Living in a modern world, this was really challenging Ignatius Tham was, in his own word, “promoted” to be when I was new to the faith. My family, friends, my son’s Godfather. I am grateful to Ignatius for doing his colleagues at work and strangers I would meet every day part as a lay apostle in journeying with my son who was threatened to derail my journey as a believer. In the hustle baptized at Easter this year. and bustle of the “real” world, I would get ensnared by all its trappings. Conflicts, anger, envy, misunderstandings, As a Lay Apostle, I continue my faith formation in order miscommunications would intermittently creep into my to spread the Good News by attending Bible study mind, switching off my consciousness of our ever present God. courses, re-attending catechism lessons as a RCIA sponsor, joining the New Evangelizing Team ("NET") school to I thought I could take a “holiday” from God after an learn how to evangelize, going for spiritual retreats and intensive year long RCIA journey right after my baptism participating in intercessory prayers - basically, sensitizing in 2007. I could simply be a lazy, easy Sunday Catholic, myself to God’s hand at work in my life and the world just going for Sunday Mass. I thank God it was not to be. around me. In all these activities, I met and continue to My RCIA sponsor Cecilia Goh, known to many in the meet many like minded Lay Apostles, excited about Parish, called me as usual to offer me a lift to church for walking close to Jesus and as commanded by Him, to Mass. Now, I know better than to accept free rides. She spread the Good News that He saves. roped me into the Neighbourhood Christian Community Are YOU excited about being a (NCC) activities at Marine Crescent like home visits, Lay Apostle? wake prayers and Christmas party for underprivileged What is YOUR personal faith story? children. What I liked was the Bible sharing and how the Bible stories related to our personal stories. At that time, Will YOU tell the world? Cecilia kept a close watch over me, a Neophyte. It was at Bernadette Tay
Praying by the beach This year's parish family day at East Coast Park was a humbling experience for me. It was my first church event on a beach. The day started with a prayer and hymns. An hour into the event and it started raining heavily rendering outdoor activities impossible so we ended up singing hymns for 45 minutes. In spite of the heavy rain, there were still a few people walking around the beach and I suddenly felt very vulnerable singing hymns in public. What if my colleagues walked by? What would they think of me if they saw me singing hymns by the beach? Praising God in public was harder than I thought. Singing hymns and praying seems very natural in the protective confines of the church but doing it in a public area like the beach requires a lot more courage. St Paul in his letter to the Philippians reminds us to “rejoice in the lord always” (Ch 4:4). My 2011 Parish family day experience made me realize I wasn't very confident in my faith. I resolved to try to be more courageous in proclaiming my faith. Preaching the gospel to my manager might be overly ambitious but saying grace before meals in front of my colleagues is probably a good start.
Member – PPC 2011-13 & RCIA
Truly One Church, One Family The turnout for our Parish Family day at 8:30 am on Saturday, 25th June 2011 at East Cost Park was great. People of different races and backgrounds freely mingled with each other, starting with the early morning exercise and the Amazing Race, Mini Soccer, Montage painting thereafter when I experienced the meaning of the “One Church, One Family” theme. People who signed up for the montage painting carried out their artwork as usual in spite of the torrential rain while the rest of us joined in the sing-along session as most activities had to be halted. I never for a moment felt that time was passing by slowly – we had loads of fun which one must experience in order to fully comprehend. This was the first time I participated in such a community event after being a Catholic for 20+ years, and also my first as a PPC member. I feel that one needs to step forward in order to know what is happening and to experience the real meaning of what the church is rather than being a backbencher. God has given us so much in our lives, and we keep asking for things from Him, but what do we give Him in return, at the very least? Participating in such activities may help us experience God’s presence as a community, as one Church, rather than being a loner or just mingling among your friends in church.
Member – PPC Exco 2011-13
"One Church, One Family, One Love" This was the theme of this year's milestone wedding anniversary event. Forty couples came together to celebrate their journey of love and sacrifice which served as a reminder that living out the Sacrament requires a lot of hard work. This was strongly emphasized by Father Patrick Goh when he referred the logo "Work in Progress" on the back cover of the Mass Booklet. He reminded them that families are the building blocks of the church. Fr Chris, in his homily (see accompanying box), urged couples to continue to work on the three A's - giving each other Affection, Appreciation and Attention.
Excerpts from Fr Chris’ homily at the Milestone Wedding Anniversary mass
Christine Lye Chairperson - FLM, 9th August 2011
It is really wonderful to see all of you here today, to celebrate your Milestone Wedding Anniversary! In the world that we live in, the statistics on marriage are not very encouraging. Today, one out of every two marriages ends up with the couple being separated or divorced. So, please give each other a pat on the back or a big hug for defying the odds and staying together as a married couple, in the presence of God and His Church! What a wonderful gathering we have today as we celebrate in our Lord Jesus Christ, the great event of this anniversary of faithful people, faithful spouses and faithful parents. Today as we gather to thank God for the love He has given you, we offer you the opportunity to renew your intention to be faithful in love to each other. We rejoice in the love that God has given you to share with each other and with your children and your children's children. It is so important to realize that marriage is God's plan - to show His Love in the world, to have the union of a man and a woman as a sign of His love. And so today, the Church wants you to rejoice and to exult in your vocation. She also wants you to recognize, even more than on that first day of marriage, the importance of God's gift of human Christian love. It is Christ who made it possible for you to love each other at such a beautiful level and to communicate that love to your children and to your children's children. But, Christ added to the holiness of marriage an even deeper meaning and a higher beauty – He referred to the love of marriage to describe His own love for the Church. And so, he gave to Christians a new vision of what married life ought to be – a life of self-sacrificing love, like His own. In the Gospel reading, Jesus tells us, “This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” This is the love the Lord wants us to experience - the unconditional love which he gave to us. We can start by making our natural families into more loving homes. To measure how much you are contributing into making your family a loving home, ask yourself how much of the three A’s - Attention, Affection and Appreciation you are giving to each and every member of your family. We all need to give, as well as receive, the three A’s in order to love and feel loved. Next to the home, the church should be a family – an extended family – where we give and receive love. Take time to look to your right, or your left, and notice a man, woman, teenager or child who could do with a little bit The Golden Anniversary Couple more of attention, affection and appreciation. John and Geraldine Boon God wants us to be holy families, living by the example of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Through today's readings, He reminds us that He blesses those who obey Him and live their faith in Christ. And so we pray that your families, your children, and your children's children will continue to show love and esteem for the sacrament of married life. From you and your families, may the younger generation learn the meaning of self-sacrificing Christian married love. May they also learn love, respect and esteem for the other vocations in the Church – the vocation to the religious life and to the priesthood. It is only in holy families that God's plan can blossom. As we gather together in thanksgiving, this is a wonderful opportunity to renew your love for one another, once again before the altar of God. And as your love continues in the blessing of your children, we know that the Lord will bring to completion in you, His beautiful plan. He will continue to give you deep joy and peace in your vocation of Christian married love, to be loyal and true to the end.
Gerald Tee, member of the PPC Exco 2011-13, invites parishioners to actively participate in various parish-wide events organized by the PPC.
Russell: Hey Gerald, I quite like this idea of Parish-wide events as it gives us an opportunity to meet our fellow Parishioners in an informal setting. With the festive season just round the corner, what else is in store for us? Gerald: Well plenty of excitement! Some events lined up by the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) include the Advent Reflection on 22nd Nov, Family Camp from 24th to 27th Nov at Desaru Resort, Parish Feast Day Mass on 30th Dec and Parish Feast Day Dinner on 1st Jan 2012. Russell: Wah, so many meaningful and interesting activities! Can you tell me more about the Feast Day celebrations. Gerald: The Feast of the Holy Family is an annual liturgical celebration in the Roman Catholic Church and is usually celebrated on the Sunday following Christmas unless that Sunday is January 1st, in which case it is celebrated on 30th Dec (as is the case this year). The PPC hopes to engage as many parishioners as possible. So do set aside your time to join us at 8 pm on Fri, 30th Dec for our Feast day Mass which will be celebrated by His Grace Archbishop Nicholas Chia at Church of the Holy Family and then for the Holy Family Gala Nite - Feast Day Dinner from 7pm to 10pm on Sun, 1st Jan 2012 at Roland Restaurant Block 89, Marine Parade Central, # 06 - 750 Singapore 440089. In addition to an eight-course dinner, performances and other entertainments, there will also be Best Dressed prizes in five categories - couple, family, teenager, senior citizen, child (below 12 years). The dress code is Smart – Black with a dash of Christmas! So get your tux, kebaya, Versace, Alexander McQueen outfits ready. But hurry…Tickets are on sale now at S$300 per table or S$30 per ticket - contact Gwen (firstname.lastname@example.org / 9731 5447) or Christina (email@example.com / 9686 3092). Russell: Yes of course cannot afford to miss all the excitement. What a great opportunity to start the New Year bonding with my fellow parishioners as “One Church, One Family”. But wait a minute! How about some Early Bird Discounts lah? Gerald: We do have an EARLY BIRD SPECIAL limited to the first 30 tables only - a FREE bottle of wine for each booklet of 10 tickets purchased! Russell: Well I am so excited! But I really need to understand more about this PPC and its functions. I keep hearing about it but really not much information. Gerald: Let us meet over kopi and I will tell you all about the PPC and also introduce you to some of our members. To be continued...
NCC Day of Recollection Eighty-nine lay faithful from our twelve Neighbourhood Christian Communities (NCCs) gathered at the Church of Divine Mercy on July 2011 for a Day of Recollection (DOR). It was indeed a fruitful day for participants with spiritual direction by Fr. John Gnanapiragasam, from the Church of Visitation, Kuala Lumpur. Fr John drove all the way to Singapore and was well assisted by Ms. Caroline Soon. We let out the “wows” when Caroline humbly and ever so gently mentioned she had ONLY FIFTEEN years of NCC experience. Our NCC leaders had to hard sell and cajole many of us to come for this annual DOR. Out of dutiful obligation, I bought a ticket that was the cost of a movie pass with transport, lunch and tea breaks thrown in. It was indeed a good investment with great pay back. The day started with scripture reading and Fr. John led us through the steps of Lectio Divina – Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio and Contemplatio. This was followed by reviewing of
Church documents on the why and what of NCCs which validated the vital role of the NCC and reinforced how each one of us (whether we like it or not) essentially belongs to the NCC. Besides group sharing, we were also regaled with the experiences shared by Fr. John and Caroline on the pains and joy of building and maintaining NCCs. It must be the uniting power of praying together. No one appeared jaded despite the day long affair; certainly no one left half way through. I felt the program ended rather too soon and observed much energetic buzz at the close of the day; certainly no one expressed “glad it’s finally over.” Seeing is believing; check out the event's group photo where participants readily put on their best smiles. It is my sincere hope that participants will continue to reflect on what was instilled during the DOR and tap into the ideas presented and discussed to grow and walk in our faith, within the conclave of our respective NCCs.
PUBLISHER Church of the Holy Family CHIEF EDITOR David Nayar EDITOR Violet Rosario SUB-EDITORS Sharon Lin, Leonard Yeo, Lisa Marie Tan DESIGN & LAYOUT Karlyn Goh All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be published in any form or by any means without the written permission of the publisher.
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