Christmas Eve 2017 – Interviews with parishioners & visitors

Interviews by: Charlene Sng, Communications Ministry, Church of St. Michael

Clifford Freeman, 51

On how his family has been preparing for Christmas this advent season – “My wife and I are involved in the marriage preparation course where we help other married couples in their journey of marriage. For us this is important because we’ve seen a lot of marriages headed for divorce and we’re just trying in our own small way to not let that happen.”

Clifford’s wife Rosalind on what Christmas means to them – “Christmas is very important to us. It’s a time where family and friends gather to put aside their differences and ‘un-forgiveness’ to come together. Especially the ‘un-forgiveness’ part with family members.”

Clifford & Rosalind on why they chose to come to our parish for the 5:30pm Christmas Eve mass – “I’m going to my brother’s (Christopher Freeman) house for dinner later, so he invited me to attend mass here instead of the 6pm mass at Church of the Holy Family, which is our parish. I’ve not been here for a long time and it’s my wife’s second time coming to St Michael’s. The first time was for Christopher’s wedding.”

Jerry Fernandez late 50s – early 60s

Jerry’s wife Mary Ann on what Christmas means to them and how they’ve been preparing for Christmas – “The birth of Christ means we should have a loving, sharing family and at the same time be loving towards our neighbour. That is Christmas for me.”

Jerry on why they chose to come to our parish for the 5:30pm Christmas Eve mass – “Our parish is actually the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, but I’ve known Father Terence for a long time and we thought it’ll be nice to celebrate Christmas Eve mass at St Michael’s because some of our friends and family attend mass here, and it’s central too. I’m here with my wife Mary Ann, my daughter and her family, and my nephew.”

Adele Ang, parishioner of St Michael’s, 27

Figure 1 (left to right): Adele, Charles, Joseph, Alicia* – all aged 27, parishioners of St Michael’s and Stacy (extreme right)

Adele on what Christmas means to her – “Christmas to me is about getting everyone together, friends and family alike just to celebrate the occasion and appreciate everyone’s existence.”

Adele on being a parishioner of St Michael’s – “We’ve been coming to St Mike’s since primary 1 when we started Cathecism here.”

Stacy on what Christmas means to her – “Christmas to me means the gathering family and friends. It’s about the spirit of giving, and it’s a time to appreciate each other and show them how much we appreciate them throughout the year.’

*note: Alicia serves in our wardens ministry.

Interviews for Christmas Eve 2017 Midnight EC

Bernard and Kaili, both 36, parishioners

What Christmas means to them:

“It is a special occasion and a family event, and we are always looking forward to it, especially more so as you age and you realise how important it is to celebrate Christmas as a family.”

Encounter with God at this Christmas EC:

“We certainly get a strong feeling of community unity, and everybody comes together for this celebration.”

William Tan, 70, parishioner

What Christmas means to him:

“Christmas is the birth of Christ, our Redeemer, a big occasion.”

Encounter with God at this Christmas EC:

“I have gone through many miracles in my life. When I was young, I went to De La Salle Primary School and I even went to church when I was a Buddhist, but I finally got baptised a few years ago as I believe in Christ.”

Peter, 50 – here with his wife Mindy Constance, a parishioner.

What Christmas means to him:

“It is a special time to spend with your family.”

Kevin Macrath, 16

“I went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and that gave me some encounters with God.

“At the Church of Dominus Flevit, or “Where the Lord Wept”, something Father said in the homily moved me. After that experience, I felt a sense of peace. Prior to that, I was questioning the reasons for being on the pilgrimage. In fact, I did not take the pilgrimage seriously, and the places I visited came alive as I realised that these places were actually places where God walked and lived.

“For Christmas, I see God’s hand when I see friends and family getting together to celebrate this event despite our differences. No matter how you celebrate this season of Christmas, it is important to have a sense of charity and love for the people around. As you share your love, not only will you be happy, but you are also sharing Christ’s warmth around.”

Mildred Ambrose, “Sweet 16”, SFX Parishioner

“God always speaks in different ways to me. I am arriving closer to God as I journey on in faith. He’s amazing. I am a parishioner of SFX, by today for Christmas, we – my family and I, are celebrating it in St. Mike’s. We attended the Watchmen Retreat and I remember Fr. Terence speaking about Advent and Christmas and how these events have become so commercialised. People spend a lot of time giving presents, but with regard to these things that we do, we need to think about why we are doing these things and what these things mean. The question that Fr. Terence asked was this, “So whose birthday is it?” I always knew that it was Jesus’ birthday, but through the retreat, I got it at a deeper level. Due to the things we do blindly, we forget whose birthday we are truly celebrating. This year, I made a conscious effort not to decorate my house, and I created gifts to be distributed to the needy and the Canossian Sisters. If the poor and the needy have never received a Christmas gift, what an awesome thing it would be for them to receive these gifts. This year, I am spending more time with the Lord and praying more for different people. I am also reaching out to friends and connections not met in a long time.”

Interviews by Alvin Tham and Brian Tan, Communications Ministry, Church of St. Michael

Christmas Day 2017 – Interviews with parishioners & visitors

Samantha Low & fiancé Jacob, 25

Samantha on how she prepared for Christmas this advent season – “I tried to do my part as a Catholic by giving back to our community in little ways and deeds. Christmas is a time where our family gathers to share the joy and give thanks for the good and the bad.”

Jacob on how he prepared for Christmas – “I made it a point to read and reflect on the advent booklet and come to church regularly. This Christmas is special for me as it’s my first as a Catholic in this parish. I just got baptised during Easter.”

Samantha on why they chose to come for the 9:30am Christmas Day mass – “My family and I have been parishioners here for a long time. We really enjoy the music and ambience of this parish. But we decided not to attend midnight mass this year because our bodies can’t take staying up too late anymore haha.”

Sandra, parishioner of St Michael’s

Sandra on how she has prepared for Christmas – “I’m a parishioner of St Michael’s and was brought up in a dual religion family. My family believes in the freedom of choosing our own religion. My dad is Buddhist, while my mum, sister, and I are Catholics. My sister and I were baptised at a young age and we’ve been following our mum to church. I’ve been diligently coming to church recently because of a personal encounter with God. He has helped me through a very difficult time three years ago. This Christmas, I felt that I’ve experienced God as I found peace through prayer, and I’ve been coming to church with an open heart to pray.”

Sandra on why she chose to attend the 9.30am Christmas Day mass – “My family and I usually attend the Saturday sunset mass, but we had a Christmas celebration yesterday. The 9.30am morning mass also happens to be a better time to bring my nephews to church because it’s easier to manage things. I’m here with my dad, mum, sister and her family, and aunt today.

Dilailah Pereira & family, parishioners of St Michael’s

Dilailah on why she chose to attend the 9.30am Christmas Day mass – “I’m here with my sons, sister, and nieces today. We usually attend the 9.30am Sunday mass as a family.”

Dilailah on experiencing God this Christmas – “I definitely experienced God this Christmas through the people around me.”

Dilailah on how she helped others to see Jesus and experience Him – “I shared the joy of Christmas with in little ways – in my actions, through almsgiving, and reaching out to help others especially the underprivileged.”

Interviews by: Charlene Sng & Rebecca, Communications Ministry, Church of St Michael