Thursday, May 28, 2009

Come, Holy Spirit, Come

Susan Boyle has made headlines all over the world! The 48-year old Scottish from Blackburn turned heads just last month at a programme called Britain's Got Talent when she performed I Dream a Dream. Unassuming in character, Ms Boyle has definitely inspired and tugged the hearts of hundreds of millions around the world.

After recently performing Memory this past week, talent judge Simon Cowell apologised for laughing at her a month ago when she first set foot on stage. Instead of commenting negatively, she shrugged her shoulders and brushed the topic aside. This one simple act to date has been viewed by a hundred million people throughout the world. Maybe she's aware of the impact she's made, maybe she's not. But it's a reminder of how God can use us wherever we are, in any situation, to reflect His love and compassion! How have we been God's channel at the workbench? At home? In class? To our neighbours? To those whom we are not aware of, but are watching our every move?

During the outpouring of he Holy Spirit this weekend, let us allow ourselves to be truly renewed and also to be guided on how we use technology to spread the Good News!

Come Holy Spirit, Come!

Click here for the YouTube link.

by AT

Monday, May 25, 2009

Addressing Pastoral Needs of Catechists

This workshop by Br Collin Wee is aimed at helping catechists who may face young people going through crisis; to understand and help. For more information about the workshop content, please click here.

Event Date: 30 May 09, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Location: 2 Highland Road
Organised By: Singapore Pastoral Institute
Booking Information: 68583011
Contact Email:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

World Communications Sunday

I affirm Pope Benedict’s call for young Catholics to use the internet media (like Facebook, Youtube, blogger, Twitter, etc) to share and promote our faith.

Anyone regardless of age will appreciate how technology can enhance our daily life and keep us connected with the fast moving world. Its speed and capacity of acquiring information and data is undeniable.

While we must be careful not to be enslaved by technology, we must also not avoid it because of fear of its harmful effects. Instead, we should guide our young brothers and sisters how to use this powerful instrument for the good of humanity. Just as how we communicate openly with others, so the same goes for sharing our faith in the online world for…

“Everyone who acknowledges me before others, I will acknowledge before my heavenly father… (Mt 10:33)."

by LH

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Altar Enthronement (Part two)

How to do the enthronement?

5 children/teens will be chosen to hold an item each using both hands. They proclaim what each item represents as they placed them on the altar.
• The white cloth reminds us of our baptismal promises and of our vocation to holiness in daily life.

• This is the crucifix that reminds us that if we want to follow Jesus we must be willing to embrace our own cross in the power of the Holy Spirit.

• This is our blessed mother Mary who points us to her son Jesus. Mary has been given to us by Jesus as our Mother, to guide us in daily life.

• The Word of God contains the Good News that we listen to every weekend. By listening to the Word we experience Jesus as a living person who encourages and challenges us.

• This is the Light of Christ that overcomes the darkness of our sins and sets us free to become light for others too.

Alternative way of enthronement: The various religious articles are carried in procession and the altar is assembled article by article (without commentary) as a hymn is sung:

1. The Church’s One Foundation (or another appropriate hymn whose theme is the Church.)

The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord
She is His new creation by water and the word
From heav’n He came and sought her to be His holy bride
With His own blood He bought her,
And for her life He died

Elect from every nation
Yet one o’er all the earth
Her charter of salvation
One Lord, one faith, one birth
One holy name she blesses
Partake one holy food
And to one hope she presses
With every grace endured

2. A taize chant which highlight the theme of `light’ or `journey’:

Lord Jesus Christ, your light shines within us!
Let not our doubt or our darkness speak to us.
Lord Jesus Christ, your light shines within us!
Let me heart always welcome Your love.

Bless the Lord my soul!
And Bless God’s Holy Name.
Bless the Lord my soul!
Who leads me into life!

So there you have it, the steps on how to enthrone the altar at the start of each class. This action takes many many years to be instilled in a child. So each time it is observed, celebrate it with care! God bless!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Altar Enthronement (Part one)

Greetings! Our first Class Apps post will begin aptly with Altar Enthronement.

One way to start a catechism class is the “enthronement of the altar”. In church, the altar occupies the most prominent part of the sanctuary. Similarly, the altar (table) serves as the centre of our focus in our classroom. We begin class by remembering in a solemn way the different signs that make up our Catholic heritage especially focusing on the Word of God, Jesus who is the One that calls us together as a community.

A little about each item for enthronement:

1. Altar Cloth
In the fourth century, every Christian knew that during the celebration of the Mysteries the altar is covered with a cloth. It became a law in the seventh century. The custom of using three altar-cloths began in the ninth century, but at present it is of strict obligation for licit celebration of mass. The reason of this prescription of the Church is that if the Precious Blood should by accident be split it might be absorbed by the altar-cloths before it reached the altar-stone.

The altar-cloths symbolically have been given rich descriptions over the centuries. They signify:
• the members of Christ, that is, God’s faithful, by whom the Lord is encompassed;
• the linens in which the body of Christ was wrapped, when it was laid in the sepulcher;
• the purity and the devotion of the faithful: For the fine linen are justifications of saints (Revelation 19:8)

2. Crucifix
The crucifix is the principal ornament of the altar. It is placed on the altar to recall to the mind of the celebrant, and the people, that the Victim offered on the altar is the same as was offered on the Cross. For this reason the crucifix must be placed on the altar as often as Mass is celebrated. The rubrics of the Roman Missal prescribe that it be placed at the middle of the altar between the candlesticks, and that it be large enough to be conveniently seen by both the celebrant and the people.

3. Icon of Mother Mary
Early Christians adorned their catacombs, which are cradles of all Christian art with paintings of Christ, of the saints, of scenes from the Bible and allegorical groups. They accepted the art of their time and used it to express their religious ideas.

St Gregory the Great explained that Holy images are “books of the ignorant” for in a picture even the unlearned may see what example they should follow. Also expressed in the “Catechism of Christian Doctrine”, we should give to relics, crucifixes and holy pictures a relative honour, as they are memorials to Christ and the saints.

The earliest picture of Mother Mary is that found in the cemetery of Priscilla, it represents the Virgin as if about to nurse the Infant Jesus. In these pictures she is often portrayed with her arms half extended interceding for us. On the graves of the early Christians, the saints are figured as intercessors for their souls, and among these saints Mother Mary always held the place of honour.

4. Word of God
The Word contains the saving message of Jesus Christ who has come to save us from our sins. The Old and the New Testament periods correspond with two successive and unequal periods of time in the history of mankind. They form the two parts of one story whose centre is the person and mission of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament recalls the story of creation and the fall and how God through the prophets tried to establish a covenant with man repeatedly. However it would only be in the New Testament that an everlasting covenant would be established between God and man through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ which we make present everyday in the celebration of the Eucharist.

In referring to this inspired Word as a book it is known as the Bible. The name is derived from the Greek expression biblia (the books), which came into use in the early centuries of Christianity to designate the whole sacred volume. The bible has had the widest and deepest influence upon the minds and hearts of men due to the fact that it is indeed "inspired of God" and, as such, especially "profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice" (2 Timothy 3:16)

5. Candle
The use of a multitude of candles and lamps was undoubtedly a prominent feature of the celebration of the Easter vigil dating, from Apostolic times. St Jerome declared that the use of lighted candles during the Gospel reading, was not to put darkness to flight, but as a sign of joy. The lighted candles were also closely associated with the baptismal ceremony which took place on Easter Eve and which no doubt occasioned the description of that sacrament as `illumination’. This biblical notion of light is further celebrated in the Easter proclamation, the Exultet, on Holy Saturday night - Christ is the light that overcomes the darkness of our sin. In Church tradition the wax is a symbol of the flesh of Jesus Christ born of a virgin mother. From this has sprung the further conception that the wick symbolizes more particularly the soul of Jesus Christ and the flame the Divinity which absorbs and dominates both. Thus the great paschal candle represents Christ, "the true light", and the smaller candles are typical of each individual Christian who strives to reproduce Christ in his life.

(We continue with part two - the "how to" next week. Stay tuned...)