Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Just hot off the press. A closure to the Novena Church exorcism case.

SINGAPORE: The High Court has thrown out the exorcism case against the priests and volunteers at Novena Church. Read on…


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Sharing an interesting article found in http://www.4marks.com

Yes, there are some well-qualified, informative and entertaining Catholic God bloggers like The Catholic Herald’s Damian Thompson (Holy Smoke) in England, L’Espresso’s Sandro Magister (www.chiesa) in Italy, and The Tablet’s Rocco Palmo (Whispers in the Loggia) in the U.S. But these gentlemen are bona fide journalists and experts in their field. For the vast majority of God bloggers, not so! Rather they are typically well-meaning souls sucked into what I call “the cult of unfounded personal opinion.” The “instant access” nature of most blogs means people posting comments often do so in the heat of passion. Not surprisingly, too often God blog discussion descends into vitriol and then hate-filled rumor-mongering.

Well, it seems that the Evangelical Alliance, the leading Christian umbrella group in Britain, has noticed that this is a universal problem. The group has publically acknowledged the problem and has sought to provide some guidance. At a recent “Godblogs conference” in London, senior evangelical clergy drew up a new set of Ten Commandments, especially directed to God bloggers. They are, for the most part, wise words of advice – as obvious as they may be – and certainly applicable to Catholic bloggers as much as any other kind of blogger, God blogger or not:

1. You shall not put your blog before your integrity.

2. You shall not make an idol of your blog.

3. You shall not misuse your screen name by using your anonymity to sin.

4. Remember the Sabbath day by taking one day off a week from your blog.

5. Honor your fellow-bloggers above yourselves and do not give undue significance to their mistakes.

6. You shall not murder someone else’s honor, reputation or feelings.

7. You shall not use the web to commit or permit adultery in your mind.

8. You shall not steal another person’s content.

9. You shall not give false testimony against your fellow-blogger.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s blog ranking. Be content with your own content.

(An extract from an article written by Michael S. Rose in http://www.4marks.com)

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It has been an eventful year in 2008. Perhaps not really that eventful on this blogsite but you may just like to know what were the posts that caught the readers’ attention. Here’s a roundup for 2008.

Top Posts
1. Do godparents have to be Catholic? (2,228 views).
2. Why did the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches split? (2,175 views).
3. Liturgical Year, Cycles, Seasons, Colours (1,912 views).
4. Passing of Archbishop Emeritus Gregory Yong (1,131 views).
5. Sacrament of Confirmation (941 views).
6. What is “Taize”? (804 views).
7. 101 Questions about the Catholic Mass (764 views).

Most Active
1. Do godparents have to be Catholic?.
2. Why did the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches split?.
3. How did Joseph die?.
4. Dec 28, 2008 The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
5. 101 Questions about the Catholic Mass.

Wishing all readers a Happy New Year 2009 and may the blessings of the Lord be upon you, your family and loved ones always.

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Pope pleads for peace

Sharing an article published in The Straits Time Interactive. Let us join in a prayer for peace.

VATICAN CITY – WAR and economic hardship loomed over Christmas celebrations across the world on Thursday, with Pope Benedict XVI denouncing greed and pleading for an end to violence in the Middle East.

The pontiff lamented that ‘the horizon seems once again bleak for Israelis and Palestinians’, and he decried the conflicts and poverty plaguing Africa. Read on…

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Euthanasia and Living Will

A lot of buzz has been going on in the media recently on the topic of euthanasia. Equally, there were different comments on this subject from a variety of viewpoints. I have just received an email where the Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore will be holding a talk on “Euthanasia and Living Will”. The details are below in case you may have an interest in this topic from a Catholic perspective.

From: CMG
Subject: Talks…Euthanasia and Living Will

Dear all,
The Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore is organising two Friday evening sessions on the topic of euthanasia and living wills to assist Catholics in understanding and responding to end of life issues.

Friday 5 Dec 2008 – “Euthanasia – killing or caring?”
Friday 12 Dec 2008 – “The Living Will and the Advance Medical Directive – to sign or not to sign?”

Time: 7.30pm to 9.30pm
Venue: 8th floor auditorium, Catholic Welfare Services Building, 55 Waterloo Street, Singapore
Cost: Free

Email: cmgsingapore@yahoo.com.sg
Call: Darren 9730 4960 / Gilbert 9776 5265.

Registration is essential as seats are limited.

Thanks and God bless

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NO to Euthanasia

The controversial subject of “euthanasia” commonly known as mercy-killing. But are you being merciful in terminating the life of another human being even if the person express that desire?

Sharing an article published in The Straits Times Interactive on 3rd Nov 2008 titled “No to Euthanasia”.

Read the Pastoral Letter of the Archbishop on the issue of Euthanasia given on the Feast of All Saints 2008.

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Along Waterloo Street, there lies a building which is a place of worship for the Jewish community in Singapore. Built in 1878, it is the oldest synagogue in South-East-Asia where members of the Jewish community congregate to worship. Noticeably, you may have seen Jewish males wearing a headcovering. Known as the kippah, it is worn by Jewish males during religious services, religious study, meals, etc while some wear it all the time.

^ Map location: Maghain Aboth Synagogue, No.24 & 26, Waterloo Street.

^ Entrance to Maghain Aboth Synagogue at Waterloo Street. (Photocredit: National Archives of Singapore, circa 1978)

^ Maghain Aboth Synagogue, built in 1878, is the building on the right in the photo. A new annexe known as “Jacob Ballas Centre”, on the left, was recently added.

^ Panels of stained-glass fronting Waterloo Street from the new annexe Jacob Ballas Centre.

Recently the Jewish community in Singapore gathered at the synagogue to celebrate the holiest day in the Jewish calendar known as Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Fasting, prayers, repentance were part of the process that Jews atone for their sins. Here’s some photographs taken by photojournalist Desmond Lim which was published in The Straits Times, Oct 13, 2008 when the Jewish community celebrated the “Sabbath of Sabbaths”.

(I have typed out the description attached to each article printed in the newspaper in case the words are too small to be read.)

^ “Sabbath of Sabbaths”. Click on image to enlarge.

^ Jewish men gather in the Maghain Aboth Synagogue on the eve of Yom Kippur to pray and annul all personal vows and oaths made during the year that have not been fulfilled. The prayer is known as Hatarat Nedarim.

^ Jews gather on the eve of Yom Kippur and pray outside the Maghain Aboth Synagogue in Waterloo Street. It and the Chesed-El Synagogue at Oxley Rise serve as places of worship for the Singapore Jewish community. The Maghain Aboth Synagogue, built in 1878, is the oldest synagogue in South-East-Asia.

^ On the eve of Yom Kippur, Chief Rabbi Mordechai Abergel holds a chicken and prays during a ritual known as the kaparot. It entails holding a white chicken by the shoulder blades and gently swinging it over the person’s head, symbolically transferring one’s sins. The chicken will then be slaughtered and donated to the poor. It is customary that white roosters are used for men and white hens used for women.

^ A Jewish man prays in the synagogue during the morning service on the eve of Yom Kippur. Strapped to his forehead is a small leather box containing scrolls inscribed with biblical verses. The box, which is known as tefilin, is also strapped to the person’s left arm. The tefilin’s proximity to the head and heart is a reminder to Jews to focus on thoughts and emotions.

It is interesting to note that the tradition of strapping the tefilin to the forehead and to the left arm dates back to biblical times. Below are four passages from the bible that describe this tradition which the Jews still practice today.

Deuteronomy 6:8
Bind them at your wrist as a sign and let them be as a pendent on your forehead.

Deuteronomy 11:18
Therefore, take these words of mine into your heart and soul. Bind them at your wrist as a sign, and let them be a pendant on your forehead.

Exodus 13:9
It shall be as a sign on your hand and as a reminder on your forehead, thus the law of the Lord will ever be on your lips, because with a strong hand of the Lord brought you out of Egypt.

Exodus 13:16
Let this, then, be as a sign on your hand and as a pendant on your forehead: with a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.

The practice of strapping the tefilin on the forehead and on the left arm serves as a constant reminder to Jews of their Covenant with God and to dedicate themselves to God in whatever they think, feel and do.

^ Worshippers ask one another for forgiveness on the eve of the festival. Since Yom Kippur atones only for sins committed towards God, they have to ask forgiveness from one another. It is necessary that, after forgiving, one must not bear grudges.

^ A congregant is whipped on the back with a leather strap. This is a symbolic punishment for one’s sins. The ritual is traditionally performed a few hours before the start of Yom Kippur.

^ Holy Scrolls. (Photocredit: National Archives of Singapore, circa 1978)

^ The interior of Maghain Aboth Synagogue. (Photocredit: National Archives of Singapore, circa 1978)

For the older folks, you may remember that there exist a Jewish cemetery sited along Thomson Road. Here’s a post from blogger ygblog4 who wrote about the old Jewish cemetery. A notable political figure from the Jewish community was David Marshall who was Singapore’s first Chief Minister in 1955.

Read about “Why do Jewish males wear the kippah?”. Alternatively, you may like to browse at About.com to know more about Judaism, the religion of the Jews, their practices, culture, festivals and traditions.

Lastly, a bit of history about the Maghain Aboth Synagogue from Infopedia.

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