Sunday January 22, 2006 ■ CatholicNews

SESSIONS TO KNOW THE CATHOLIC FAITH Guided by Frs. Henry Siew and Kenny Tan. Commencing: Feb 15, 7.45pm Venue: St. Anne’s Church Contact: Iris (9755 4565), Augustine (9853 9199) email stanne@singnet.com.sg to register.

By Sister Wendy Ooi, fsp
SINGAPORE – This year there

will be two opportunities for Catholics and Christians of different denominations to come together to pray for Christian unity. The first prayer service will take place on Thursday Jan 19, 2006 at the Church of St. Ignatius, while the second prayer service will be on Monday Jan 23, 2006 at the Toa Payoh Methodist Church (480 Lorong 2 Toa Payoh). Both services begin at 8pm and are open to all. Catholics are encouraged to bring their Christian friends.

Father Albert Renckens, SSCC, one of the organisers, hopes that two venues this year will encourage more Catholics to participate. “We should organise other opportunities for people to pray for Christian Unity,” he commented. “Ideally we should do it five times, over five nights in the different districts in Singapore. This year we succeeded with two places. Next year, maybe more.” A worldwide observance, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated annually from Jan 18 to 25. The theme this year is: “Where two or three are

gathered in my name, I am there among them.” (Mt 18:20)

PERANAKAN MASS The Holy Family Peranakan Group is celebrating her 25th anniversary with a Peranakan Mass to usher in the Chinese New Year. Date: Chinese New Year Eve, Jan 28 Time: 11pm Venue: Church of the Holy Family. Main Celebrant: Fr. Alfred Chan. All are welcome! COMMISSIONING OF PRINCIPALS AND COMMITMENT CEREMONY 2006 for principals and viceprincipals of Catholic Schools. Venue: Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. Celebrant: Archbishop Nicholas Chia. Date: Sat, Jan 21 Time: 6.30pm. All are welcome. 3RD SATURDAY MASS WITH HEALING SERVICE at the Church of St Michael’s. Date: Jan 21 Celebrant: Fr. Tom Curran Session: 6.45pm – Rosary, 7.30pm – Praise & Worship, 8pm – Mass with healing service.

JOURNEY WITHIN SESSION An afternoon of prayer, faith sharing and moments to deepen your relationship with the Lord to discern your vocation in life. Date: Sat. Jan 21 Time: 3pm Venue: Daughters of St. Paul, 47 Jurong West, St. 42 Inquiries: 6560 8003 (Open to women aged18-28; Free) From the CATHOLIC SPIRITUALITY CENTRE, 1261 Upper Serangoon Rd, T: 6288 7901, W: www.catholic.org.sg/ csctr • “Suffering – Why Me, Lord?” by Fr. William Goh Session: P&W, Mass, Talk Time: 7.3010pm Date: Jan 20, Jan 27 and Feb 3. There will be a follow-up “A Change Within” Conversion Experience Retreat for those interested in spiritual maintenance. All are welcome. From The Bible Apostolate Ministry at THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, 248 Upper Thomson Road. T: 6453 6340 • Journey Through the Bible with Sr. Denise Hannebury from the Sisters of Charity from Australia. Sessions: 1) Abraham’s Call and God’s Call to Me 2) Moses/Ten Commandments – Jesus/Beatitudes 3) Leadership: Saul, David: Judas, Peter 4) Paul: Conversion and Ministry – My Ministry? Dates: Feb 1, 8, 15, 22 Time: 10-11.30am at Room A2-01 or 8-9.30pm at The Attic. • The Gospel According to Mark, 10 sessions with Fr. Ambrose Vaz Encounter Jesus! Experience Jesus! Respond to Jesus! Learn how to apply the main themes of Mark’s Gospel in your daily life. Date: Mar 8, 15, 22, 29; Apr 19, 26; May 3, 10, 17 Time: 7.459.45pm. Venue: The Attic. Please bring your Bible along for all the above sessions. Registration: Forms can be obtained from the Parish Office or Contact: Jerry (9128 1418), Genevieve (9815 4098), Felicitas (9645 1951), Beatrice (chewyeoh@yahoo.com)

Father Albert Renckens encourages Catholics to bring Christian friends to pray for unity.

IN JOHN 17, Jesus prays to the Father for the unity of believers. The phrase “that they may be one” is repeated or rephrased four times (John 17:11, 21, 22, 23), indicating the importance of this petition to Jesus. Perhaps when he prayed this prayer, Jesus had in mind what was to become of his body of believers. Since the Great Schism of 1054 which divided the once united Christian Church into the East (Orthodox) and the West (Catholic), the Catholic Church has seen further divisions in its history: the Protestant Reformation of 1517 initiated by Martin Luther, and the split of the Church of England from Rome in 1534 during the reign of King Henry VIII. The separated Christian Churches experienced further sub-divisions. From the Lutheran branch grew the Anabaptists (1525), Presbyterians or Calvinists (1536), Congregationalists (1607) and Baptists (1607), with the latter branching further to the Adventists and Churches of Christ. Within the Church of England or the Anglican (meaning “of England”) Church, branched out the Methodists (1738) and from the Methodists branched out the Pentecostals (1901) which includes the Assemblies of God. After the American Revolution in 1789, the Anglican Church in the USA became known as the Episcopal Church. With so many divisions and sub-divisions, Christianity may appear to be in a sad, disunited, scandalous state. However, there is hope as more and more churches are involved in ecumenical activities. One

This “Where Two or Three are Gathered in My Name” poster was designed by Sister Gerardine Mueller, O.P.

significant worldwide ecumenical event is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. When Catholics and Christians around the world observe the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, they continue and, in a sense, realise the prayer of Jesus in John 17. The observance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity dates back to 1908. It was initiated as Church Unity Week by Rev. Paul Wattson, an Episcopalian priest in Graymoor, New York. Jan 18, the original feast of the Chair of St. Peter, was chosen to begin the Week which would conclude on Jan 25, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. Over the years, while the dates remain unchanged, the observance of the Christian Unity Week has evolved. More Catholics have been participating in it after Vatican Council II (1962-65). The latter’s Decree on Ecumenism (1964) calls prayer “the soul of the ecumenical movement,” and encourages Catholics to observe what has developed to be the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The Decree says, “Such prayers in

common are certainly an effective means of obtaining the grace of unity, and they are a true expression of the ties which still bind Catholics to their separated brethren.” Since 1968, the theme and text for each year’s observance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity are chosen and prepared by representatives of the Pontifical (Vatican) Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches. The theme for this year, prepared by the churches in Ireland, is Mt 18:20, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them”. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an important ecumenical event that Catholics are encouraged to observe at various levels. Apart from participating in the organised prayer services with other Christian churches, prayers for Christian unity could also be initiated in parishes, church groups, neighbourhood groups, and religious communities. This would go toward fulfilling Jesus’ own desire “that (we) may all be one.” (Jn 17:21) FOR PRAYER FOR Christian Unity resources, including an introduction and explanation of this year’s theme, visit: – www.geii.org/ – www.vatican.va/ roman_curia/pontifical_councils/ chrstuni/weeks-prayer-doc/ rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20050603_weekprayer-2006_en.html – www.wcc-coe.org/wcc/ what/faith/wop-index.html FOR A BIRD’S eye view of the similarities and differences betwen the different Christian denominations and the Catholic Church, visit: www.religionfacts.com/ christianity/charts/ denominations_beliefs.htm ■

CHURCH HISTORY COURSE Conducted by Fr. Tom Curran, OCD. Venue: Church of Sts. Peter & Paul, Chapel Time: 7.30pm Date: 12 Mondays, starting on Feb 6. Course fees: $50. Register with the church office.

THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF THE PERSONAL VOCATION addresses the consistency between the ideal and actual value systems and challenges us to live our Christian vocation with integrity and freedom. Ideal for leaders, teachers, catechists and parents. Resource person: Fr. Michael McGuire, SSC. PhD (Clinical Psychology) Venue: SPI. Date: Feb 24-27, (Fri & Mon, 2.30-6pm) Contact: Shirley Louis (6858 7011) or accs@catholic.org.sg Registration fee: $180 (Meals included) Closing date: Feb 13.

Suntec City Raffles Place Outram Road

The Rock Auditorium: Foyer Tue and Days of Obligation: 12.15pm, 1.15pm Victoria Theatre Foyer: Level 2 Wed and Days of Obligation: 11.30am, 12.15pm, 1.15pm

Medical Alumni Association Wed and Days of Obligation: of Singapore: Level 2 12.15pm, 1.15pm

Orchard Hyatt Hotel (see hotel notice Fri: 12.40pm, 1.20pm for room allocation) Shenton Singapore Conference Hall: Level 2 (see notice for CPS mass) Fri and Days of Obligation; 12.40pm, 1.20pm for 1st/3rd/5th Fri. The 12.40pm session will be talks held by priests/ religious followed by Mass at 1.20pm on every 2nd and 4th Fri.