The Jalan Tenteram area has many new and young families, and the Holy Spirit was speaking powerfully to Jennifer Noronha when she discovered that during the parish’s recent outreach to that area, that many Catholics and parishioners of the Church of St. Michael living in the vicinity did not know many people and each other. With the Feast Day celebrations around the corner, she sounded Fr. Terence Pereira about an idea to connect with the residents there, and he gave his blessings to go ahead with the event.
The hope in creating such opportunities for connection, is that inspired by our community’s outreach efforts, these families would desire to return home to our parish, especially for those in the wake of the pandemic, have not yet come home.
A teatime gathering was thus organised for Sunday 4 September, 4pm at the pavilion next to Blk 117 Jalan Tenteram, and 7 families from the area, plus another 12 from the Jalan Bahagia area turned up!
“My greatest joy was to have new families show up. We had a free and easy afternoon eating our teatime snacks and chatting up with new and old friends.
“This could be the start of similar gatherings in the pavilions of other neighbourhoods and would give the neighbours an opportunity to come together, and get to know their Catholic neighbours. If we have newly baptised persons in that area it would be wonderful to include them so that they experience a belonging where they live!!” – Jennifer Noronha
Some participants felt the strong bonds of family, even though it was the first time meeting some of their neighbours:
“We joined the gathering because the neighbourhood is part of us. Our children were in this neighbourhood when they were in primary school and today they are parents. We interacted with the new neighbours and some shared their faith journey with us. We felt we are like one big family even though we were meeting for the first time.” – Lawren and Irene Tan
Anna and Mark Soh (Anna 82yrs & Mark 84yrs) are a lovely couple who live in the Tenteram area, and they were glad for an opportunity to meet with their fellow Catholics. Some they had seen in the lift before but did not have chance to chat. According to Anna and Mark, “The best part is able to chit chat. [We] will attend future gatherings if it is convenient for us.”
Felicity Ngiam is a new resident at Jalan Tenteram who also belongs to the Ministry of Comfort. She joined the gathering because she wanted to get to know more people. She “hope[s] to use [her] small effort to serve God,” She also jokingly said that this was part of her “retirement plan”. Felicia said that it was a good thing for people to now be able to meet face to face without their masks. She also requested the following activities:
“Could we have activities for single mums and dads. [Maybe] tuition for kids?” She also highlighted that with the gatherings around the neighborhood, seniors could feel connected, “For some of them it takes a long time to walk to church because of their leg pains.”
Later that evening around 7.30pm, there was a makan and fellowship at the same venue with CNC leaders and some members of the Ministry of Comfort who were serving communion to the homebound in the neighbourhood.
It was indeed a day of good fellowship. We praise God for all the blessings and graces received that day.
Written by Brian Bartholomew Tan
Interviews by Karen and Carol from Jalan Bahagia CNC
Footage by Jennifer Noronha