Around the Neighbourhood
Witnessing the Chrism Mass
Around the world, the Catholic community gathered with the bishops and priests on Maundy Thursday morning to celebrate the institution of the priesthood. Known as the Chrism Mass, the Eucharistic Celebration (EC) in Singapore was held at the Church of the Transfiguration (COTT) this year.
A Great Turnout from CSM
There was no formal logistical arrangement for Church of St Michael (CSM) parishioners to attend the Chrism Mass. I took 4 days’ leave to be part of CSM’s Holy Week Vigil culminating in the Easter Celebration, and hitched a ride there with Fr Terence and parishioners Joseph and Helen. I felt a deep sense of pride when we arrived and met some 50 CSM parishioners who made their own way there. Some had arrived even before the church doors opened at 8am.
We never walk alone COTT was packed to the rafters with worshippers from all over. The Mass was well-coordinated and it was uplifting – to be with our Archbishop and all our priests in one place to celebrate the Eucharist was a blessing and privilege. The Oil of Chrism blessed by our Archbishop will be used for Baptism, Confirmation, and for Anointing of the sick or dying. Three bottles from Turkey – green, gold and purple contain the oil of Catechumens, the oil of Chrism, and the oil for the sick respectively. Do have a closer look at the oils from the Chrism Mass which are now in CSM’s worship hall!
By Ruben Rajendra
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Born Again in Jesus Christ
Up Close with John Chen
John Chen shares why he chose to participate in RCIA
To be honest, I hadn’t even heard of it at first. I didn’t know that if I wanted to become a Catholic I had to participate in RCIA. I didn’t know what baptism was and that one only becomes Catholic after baptism. I thought that all it took was for me to go to church. Thereafter, I occasionally heard my cousin Chen Song mention RCIA, but I didn’t know what it was at the time and didn’t pay attention to it. At that point, I thought I was already a Catholic, so that’s why I went to church with cousin almost every Sunday. It was half a year later, when my cousin told me that it was better for me to go for RCIA. I didn’t think anything of it as I still didn’t know what RCIA was, but he then said something about attending RCIA to learn principles and reason, and this touched me so much that I agreed without thinking twice. But unfortunately, I had to work night shifts that month and I told my cousin that it had to wait.
Now that I think about it, it was a little odd that one week later on a Friday morning, Yong Long sent me a text message to ask if I could go to church that Sunday. I didn’t reply him at the time and was still at work when Yong Long called me and asked if I could go to church. I told him that I was on night shifts the entire month, so I didn’t commit. On the second night, my cousin invited me to go to church with him on Sunday and just sign up for RCIA first, so I thought it wouldn’t be an issue. But I didn’t expect to attend RCIA the very day I signed up, and just like that, I muddled through the introduction class as it was my first time interacting with the RCIA group. Although there weren’t many people, I found them to be very nice and decided to participate in this RCIA class, for I realised that it’s impossible for us to reject God’s call and His plans.
John’s thoughts on his RCIA journey
Ever since I discovered what RCIA was, I looked forward to Sundays because I loved the classes. It was like my cousin said, I learned a lot from it and I learned principles and reason. Every RCIA speaker spoke well, I enjoyed listening to them and the sharing from my brothers and sisters in Christ, as I learned a many things from them. Although the course got more complex, I could generally understand it and even if I didn’t, I could get answers from the sharing. In fact, sometimes sharing is the best way to learn. During RCIA, I finally understood why one is only a true Catholic after baptism and I wanted to get baptised sooner. There were also lessons that left a deep impression on me at the start of my RCIA journey, like two things that Si Chong said, “Don’t get baptised for the sake of getting baptised” and “If there is no faith, then there is no belief”. Veronica also spoke about the sacrament of marriage, which led me to understand how great Jesus’ love is, and the true meaning of love.
John describes how he felt after his baptism
During Easter, we welcomed two sacraments – Baptism and Confirmation. 1 April was the day that I was born again. There was a joy that I couldn’t express and I thought about how I can finally receive the Eucharist. I’m very grateful to the Lord for calling me to join this family. From now on, I’m a true Catholic and thank God for His grace and the Holy Spirit. I’m also thankful for my brothers and sisters in Christ, my RCIA group and facilitators, and my sponsor.
Written in mandarin by John Chen
Translated and abbreviated by Charlene Sng
Up Close with John Ang
John on why he enrolled in the Mandarin RCIA
I was strongly and sincerely encouraged to join the Mandarin RCIA! My godfather, Ben, is with the Chinese group.
John describes his RCIA journey
There was lots of love, care, and patience from my brothers and sisters in Christ from the Chinese group. I sincerely and gratefully thank them.
Reflecting on life before RCIA and after his baptism
I felt lost and was full of doubts before RCIA. After my baptism, I felt blessed to be able to receive Christ and was especially grateful to all who have made this journey possible.
John on whether he feels different now
I’m still me and I’m just trying to improve myself from yesterday. Praise the Lord for giving me the chance to be closer to Him. Amen!
By Julianne Danielle Lim