Archive for April, 2010

An Evening with Fr. Antoine Thomas

Posted: April 26, 2010 by piusranson in Uncategorized

An Evening with Fr. Antoine Thomas, Community of St. John.
23rd April 2010
7.30pm – 10.30pm
Catholic Archdiocesan Youth Centre
Archdiocese of Singapore

It was April, Friday the 23rd. A day of the week where I have only one lesson. I was invited to this event by Brother Joshua Mark Teoh, the day before. During the late afternoon lunch, I was suggesting if we could just give this event a miss. Thankfully, with praises to the Lord, I went. I learnt much. Brother Keenan drove myself, Brother Joshua, Brother Kenneth and Brother Robin, there to the CAYC.

Upon reaching, we saw Rev. Fr. Brian d’ Souza and Rev. Fr. Gerard Louis, C.Ss.R. How great it would be to see them in their cassocks or roman collars, but no. I don’t think if priests wear their Roman Collar or Cassock, it’s being flashy or trying to show off. It’s more of, telling the people, “I’m a Catholic Priest, I’m on God’s Mission”, and wearing that Cassock or Roman Collar constantly reminds the priest of his role and to remind him of his priestly responsibilities.

Fr. Antoine related to us that he was someone who loves climbing, loves skiing and loves windsurfing. Once an Old Priest asked him into the Sacristy and shocked him with a question like this, “Have you thought about becoming a Catholic Priest”. That’s when Fr. Antoine started thinking about the Ministerial Priesthood. Before that, it was just “French Girls”.

There are many things that Fr. Antoine mentioned but the following would be some of them that I can remember because they’re worth remembering.

How many times do we take out our cellphones or other electronic devices, just to chat with friends, text message, and check for emails ? Father said only once a month, he will have online chat with his fellow brothers in the same community at different parts of the world. How about, instead of using our precious time for useless text messaging and online chats, we use the same amount of time on the Word of God.

Father Antoine also mentioned about creating a little prayer corner, an oratory, in our room! I shall try doing that. =D

Do we prefer to read the Good News or the Bad News, asked Fr. Antoine.

Besides the playful ones saying “Bad News!”, everyone said, “Good News!” The Bad news will be the newspapers! esp. Tabloid newspapers! Good News will have to be the Bible of course! Why pay so much for the bad news when you can read the Good News and it’s for free!

Every time Father climbs the mountain, he would celebrate Mass, and he mentioned to us that the Eucharist is really the climax of the climb. When Father mentioned this, i thought of the picture on the right.

Just before the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Father taught us certain postures before the Blessed Sacrament. When we kneel, half of our body is gone, we lose half of ourselves. We lowered ourselves in the presence of God. I was reminded of kneeling for communion. 🙂

More about the Community of St. John –

That’s one more Religious Order to consider!

More about Fr. Antoine Thomas –

Pax Domini sit semper Vobis !


Kneeling for Communion

Posted: April 23, 2010 by piusranson in Uncategorized

I was on my way to school yesterday and I saw two long queues at the Tampines MRT Station. It stretched from inside of the Station till the outside.

Almost immediately, I was reminded of Communion queues! People were just going up to receive the free “Today” newspapers. The scene was very much like people in Church, receiving the Holy Communion from either the Priest or the EMHC.

Of course, Jesus doesn’t diminish in the Sacred Host if you receive him, standing and/or on your palms but where’s that reverence for Jesus if you truly believe that is the body of Christ. It’s God.

A secondary school friend, a non-Catholic, once related to me that he followed his cousin on a sunday,  to a Catholic Church to receive that “white round thing”. I told him that we, Catholics, believe that that is the real body of Christ. He said he doesn’t know because everybody is going up to receive that white round thing and going back to their seats so he just followed.

When we kneel to receive Holy Communion, we’re also showing people that we’re receiving something that’s sacred, something that’s holy. We’re not receiving our daily free newspapers!

In Inaestimabile Donum, Instruction concerning Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery by the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments and Divine Worship, approved and confirmed by the late Pope John Paul II, it’s written that:

With regard to the manner of going to Communion, the faithful can receive it either kneeling or standing, in accordance with the norms laid down by the episcopal conference: “When the faithful communicate kneeling, no other sign of reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament is required, since kneeling is itself a sign of adoration…”

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Posted: April 23, 2010 by piusranson in Uncategorized

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The Importance of daily Examination of Conscience

Posted: April 16, 2010 by piusranson in Uncategorized

Personally, I think that it’s extremely important for one to conduct daily examination of conscience. Unless one begin to examine his own conscience on a regular basis, he will not change for the better. Sometimes the sins we have committed are so small, we fail to recognise it. It is indeed the most important means of attaining Christian Perfection.

During the examination of conscience, one will begin to reflect what he has done throughout the day. Have I sinned against God ? Have I sinned against my neighbors ? Could I have done something better ? Have I practiced charity to everyone around me ? After reflecting, proceed to do the act of contrition or the Confiteor and/or read one of the Seven Penitential Psalms.

Check if your doings throughout the day were against the Ten Commandments, the Precepts of the Church and the Seven Capital Sins. If they are of grave matter especially with full consent and knowledge, receive the Sacrament of Penance as soon as possible.

Pope St. Pius X – “The excellence of the examination of conscience is established by the teaching of the great masters of the spiritual life.”

Fr. John Baptist Scaramelli, S.J., mentioned in his Directorium Asceticum the following quotes made by the Church Fathers.

St. Basil – “At the close of each day, when all our labours, both of body and mind, are brought to an end, each one, before retiring to rest, should set himself to an attentive examination of his conscience, in order to discover the faults which he has committed during the past day.”

St. Gregory the Great says, that whoever fails to examine daily into all that he has done, said, and thought, is not at home with, and present to, himself, but lives an outside and chance life, and is consequently losing sight altogether of his perfection.

St. Ephrem – “At night-time, withdrawing into the closet of thy heart, thou shouldst question thyself, saying, ‘Have I this day, offended my God in any one point? Have I spoken idle words? Have I through neglect or contempt omitted to do any good action? Have I wounded in any particular my neighbour’s feelings? Has my tongue given way to any kind of detraction? And when morning comes, examine again how thy business and thy spiritual merchandise have proceeded during the past night. Have I had any bad thoughts, have I been negligent in dwelling upon them?’”

St. Ignatius of Loyola, not content with examining his conscience twice a day, conformably with the instructions of the ancient Fathers, never let a single hour pass by without recollecting himself, and searching minutely into all his thoughts, words, and actions, during that brief space of time; repenting of every slight imperfection which the pure eye of his mind could discover, and renewing the spirit within him by a freshly-formed purpose of spending the coming hour in a more faultless manner. He was unable even to understand how any one could aspire to sanctity and not keep constant watch over his heart by examining all its movements.

Creative Masses take us away from God

Posted: April 15, 2010 by piusranson in Uncategorized

From an interview with Msgr. Nicola Bux published last month in the Italian blogosphere:

Then, not too surprisingly, he affirms: “The sense of sin has been weakened by the dilution of the sacrality of the liturgy. There is a close link between ethos and worship.” What do you mean? “That we today have lost values because we often do not give God a worthy worship at Mass. And many atheists ought also to live as if God exists.” (E molti anche atei dovrebbero vivere come se Dio esistesse) But let us return to the liturgical aspect: “People need the sense of the sacred in order to discover God. Sin is a negation of God, but if even when assisting Mass we live far from God, how is it then possible to avoid sin?” Then he specifies: “The liturgy is sacred, divine and glorious; it is vertical in the sense of tending towards the High, towards Beauty and Heaven. It is not something circular or horizontal, some kind of sports stadium, assembly or party.The idea of a fruitful and creative liturgy inevitably loses the sense of the sacred and therefore alienates us from God and draws us near to sin. The people, who are much more intelligent than one gives them credit for, perceive where the sacred is. It is not something abstract but a concrete thing. And it says so in the Gospel. “The woman wished to touch the cloak of Christ. In order to defeat sin, there is a need for certain, unequivocal and firm signs, not fluctuating, unstable ones.”

Therefore creative liturgy creates damage: “Many, especially after the Council, ceded to this unhealthy notion of creativity, but it was not the fault of the Council, as the Council never abrogated or cancelled the liturgy of all times (liturgia di sempre). A sloppy, manipulated and — even worse – violated Mass is an obstacle to the sacred and alienates the people from the Church. To celebrate creative Masses is a profanation of the sense of the sacred, because it brings us away from God. The minister of the cult must never be an actor, often a mediocre one at that and a source of scandal, but should think that his principal duty is to serve God, never his own unbridled desire to play the protagonist. Only by recuperating or restoring a correct vertical liturgy, can we limit in part the effects of sin, thus rediscovering God.”

Holy Week with the Franciscan Friars

Posted: April 6, 2010 by piusranson in Uncategorized

29th March 2010 – 4th April 2010
San Damiano Friary / Greccio Friary / Ch of St. Mary of the Angels
Franciscan Friars Vocation Camp

I have had two retreats and the third retreat would seem impossible. My examination results were released via a text message and email and knowing that a mail will be sent to my house, i thought i can forget about joining the one week vocation camp with the Franciscan Friars. With Lowell’s help, i managed to get permission to join in the programs without staying-in. Before I go for this Vocation Camp, I really felt no calling into the Ordo Fratrum Minorum, O.F.M. but now, yeap, it’s there!

The first day’s program started with watching a general vocations video and introduction to the priestly vocation by Friar John Wong. The video made me realized about how God can be found in Silence and complete silence indeed is impossible. That’s when we have to attempt to create silence in our heart.  In the afternoon, personal sharing and learning about the liturgy of the Holy Week by Friar Derrick Yap. It ends very late on all days and I’ll miss out a lot if i go home every day! That’s when I felt i need to stay-in to experience the full effects of the retreat. I went home on Monday night to reveal my bad results to my Dad. Surprisingly and Miraculously, he found my bad results, good. AWESOME! Surprisingly too, he allowed me to stay from Maundy Thursday till Easter Sunday.

I forgot what exactly happened on Tuesday but for the first two nights was on Franciscan Spirituality by Fra. John Wong and for both i skipped. The good thing is, Gabriel Seah managed to summarize both talks in a few sentences. Thanks be to God.

Wednesday was the day we had to be at the Greccio Friary by 9am. I took a cab down to Chestnut Drive for fear that i might be late ! I reached there at about 8.20am ? Walked up and down Chestnut Drive for at least 8 times ? I couldn’t find the Friary ! But was saved when Fr. JP told me that it’s situated within the CHIJ compound. Gabriel arrived about 10 mins after I did. The rest, Julian and Lowell and Friends, arrived late! At the first Session, Friar Joseph Nasanathan gave us this really good article (which can be found within this blog), to read and reflect.  After an awesome indian food lunch, we had Friar Arul to talk to us about Vocation and Discernment, Postulancy, Novitiate and Post-Novitiate, etc. I asked a lot of good but retarded questions. =P The need to stay over at the Friary was intense. I went home that evening for dinner, packed my bag and off i went. It’s amazing how God works in your life.

Maundy Thursday arrived. In the morning, was Chrism Mass at the Ch of St. Bernadette. We arrived early, hoping to get seats but got in only to find ourselves standing at the back. While waiting for Mass to start, there was this woman quarreling with the warden over a small mater. The woman was saying something like, “No, you didn’t tell me that, you lied, you need to go for confession.” Poor warden.  Honestly i feel like scolding this woman, telling her to shut up and watch her temper in God’s house. It happened like 5-10mins before the Chrism Mass. God taught me patience and that we should always examine our own conscience before helping others examining theirs. 🙂 We also celebrate the institution of the Priesthood and we witnessed the Diocesan and Religious Priests renewing their vows. All the priests are very different in terms of their character. This, indeed, is a very rare occasion for all to gather in one place. I saw Fr. Augustine Tay in white cassock ! =P

After Mass, was lunch at the Friary and an afternoon session with Friar John Wong. That session, Friar John Wong taught us meditation I think, That was when we were shown two vocation story interviews. One by a Marist Brother, one by a Priest. The one by the priest was especially interesting, like how he celebrated the “Mass” when he was younger. There was particularly one matter he said that struck-ed me. What you want may not be what God wants. Many times, i find myself standing on the side of what I want. Have i seriously thought about what God wants of me? Like the Priest in the video, it was very difficult for me to say, “Lord, Let your will be done” because I’m afraid of what God chose for me.

Kenneth reminded me just now that:

to enjoy the fullness of religious and priestly life, is to fully embracing the married life.

to enjoy the fullness of married life is to fully embracing the religious and priestly life.

How true.

I believe it was on wednesday night when Father asked us Aspirants, what is it that makes us truly happy ?

In the evening of thursday was the start of the Easter Triduum. We had Mass of the Lord’s Supper to commemorate the Institution of the Eucharist. We were given the opportunity to sit at the Loft from Maundy Thursday till the Easter Vigil Mass. From there, I had an extremely good view of how Father John-Paul celebrated Mass. I used to doubt that Father commingles the Body and Blood of Christ =x. Tenebrae followed after Mass.  Very rightly, His Grace Archbishop Nicholas Chia mentioned during his homily at the Chrism Mass that without the Eucharist there can be no Priests, and without Priests there can be no Eucharist.

The atmosphere of Good Friday started when Reverend Mr. Derrick Yap, O.F.M. banged the Book of Gospels against the Altar which created a thunderous sound. The recollection by Friar John Soh, O.F.M. was especially awesome. I think Kenneth was mentioning that Brother John Soh’s kind of the Ideal Friar. =O We went for the 3pm Good Friday Service. Sure enough it rained.

Friday went by and Saturday came. It was a day everyone’s been excited for. The Aspirants, the two Fathers, the two Brothers had scary chicken rice from the rat-infested stall. Afterwards we went back to Church and help with the banners before heading to the chapel for the afternoon reflection and meditation. Brother Julian, one of the Aspirants is to be baptised on easter vigil night! Everyone was excited for him too. For him, he told us he was tricked into coming for the camp but after the camp, he said he now has slight interest in the priesthood and the best part is that his girlfriend is very open about this!

Then came Easter Vigil Mass. The Lord is Risen. Alleluia! It was an awesome Mass i must say. I see many friends being baptised and confirmed and I start thinking when will I get confirmed. This boy we met on Saturday, his name spelt Cody i guess. Very interesting boy. Wish i have a younger brother like him. He told me about his parents and how he don’t play computer games. I told him maybe his future will be with the Franciscan Friars! =P

This one week with the Franciscan Friars had been an awesome experience. Julian was like, “Is there a one-week postulancy?” haha. I too want to experience a one-week postulancy if it exists!

Lord, I will go where you lead me to.

Litaniae Sanctorum

Posted: April 4, 2010 by piusranson in Uncategorized