Vice-province of Malaysia and Singapore
Greetings confreres, collaborators, brothers and sisters. Welcome to the vice-province of Malaysia and Singapore. My name is father Gerard Louis and thank you for giving us this opportunity in this video to share with you the work that we do, our missionary priorities and our vita apostolica. Do pray for us and we hope that you will enjoy the video that follows.
Brother, redemptorist priest came to my house, he chatted with my parents, bless the house and even held a whole mass. All stuff is really cool, but I am not very clear about the point.
Well, this is the charism of the redemptorists, reaching out to parishioners and especially those people who feel, that they are the nobodies, they are on the fringe of the society. The intensity of the mission depends on the parish priests and his council. The parish mission (the priests and brothers): we visit parishioners from different homes and at the end of the week we have a mass where we build community listen to the people. This is our joy as redemptorists to bring forth this mission.
Sometimes I see redemptorists come to my school to celebrate Mass. My friends at other schools tell me that redemptorists come with a group of people to run some programs. What are these programs?
Well, aside from the youth group that is in Novena Church, we do have a dedicated team that reaches out to youth that is outside of the church and they are known as the Redemptorists Mission Team (or short for RMT). They actually have a very humble beginning with just priests going to schools giving catechism, so on and so forth, but later on, they develop more elaborate programs and we started getting lay missionaries and collaborators to work with us. Today we have a very full team that reaches out to youth of different races and religion. We reach out to more than 20 catholic schools and many people have embraced the faith because of our programs and some even started considering religious vocation.
Father, so I am gonna be engaged soon. My girlfriend and I were looking at different churches get married and I hear the new Novena Church is gonna be very beautiful when it is finished. Is it possible to us to get married there?
Well, congratulations first of all. Now to answer your question which many people have asked, we must acknowledge that Novena Church is not a parish and therefore no services for marriages may be permitted. However, having said that we welcome people of all religion, of all races to come and pray. We console of their problems simply finding a place where you can meditate and be at rest.
Father, many people say that redemptorists are good preachers. You all seem very down to earth in your homilies. What is your secret?
Saint Alphonsus himself was a good preacher, who was able to touch the lives of many people with a simple message. So we go through vigorous training in order to achieve a certain standard.
Do you mind telling us about this training, and what this vigorous training is all about?
Basically, it is very important for us to observe the lives of the people, the kind of trouble, problems that they face. If you understand from that point of view, it will be so much easier to prepare a homily, that will be relevant to the lives of the people. That would be the message, the good news that they would bring home with them.
Father, as the Redemptorists you celebrate the Saturday novena to Mother of Perpetual Help and celebrate the Masses on the weekends. Besides all that, what do you do?
There is a very good question. In general public that is what they see the redemptorists are doing: the Novena and Sunday masses. These are not the only activities we take part. What is important is this, that our model is that with Him (with Jesus) is a plentiful redemption. At the same time over the years we do realize that Mary plays a very important part. It is precisely through her (the motherly touch). She brings people closer to Jesus through her intercession.
The Novena Church is known as the largest cohorts for RCIA in Singapore. Father, is it true that RCIA was pioneered by redemptorists fathers?
Yes, that is true. In 1982 father Bernard Teo started the RCIA for the first time in Singapore Church with the approval of the archbishop then. There is not the only ministry we pioneer. The also pioneer the family life ministry which is to bring the family closer and especially to enhance family relationship within the family. And these two are wonderful projects that we pioneer: to enhance the family life and to deepen our faith as Catholics.
Novena Church, Vision and Mission in Singapore
This is our home. This is your home. A home for all. A place of prayer and peace, healing and hope, life and love. Welcome to Novena Church.
Evangelization is at the very core of our Redemptorists charism and that is what we do. We preach the Good News and we do it in so many ways from parish missions, school retreats, seminars, talks, formation programs. The unique thing about the Novena Church is that the people come to this place to listen to the Good News and that is how we evangelize in a very effective way.
The novena devotions started inside the parlour with about 12 people, but as the number of people grew, they had to move the devotion to the tiny chapel and recently we found that even our unarched church is not enough so we have to build a bigger building.
In the year 2008 URA inform us that they would conserve the old church, so we had a meeting with them and after that we had a meeting among us, the redemptorists. In that meeting we decided we will build a new church. After negotiation with URA they have agreed that we will match a new and the old church.
It is quite similar to what we have seen in European churches. Reason being is I try to assimilate the old churches that they have done giving an example. It is in Scripture saying that the columns are decorated with palm trees. One of the elements that is very prominent inside the church is their own columns with cluster of small columns and that symbolizes the palm trees reaching high in a worship hall.
Now while the new church was being built, the redemptorists actually came together to discern the future of this new church: how we can most dynamically reach out to the people and we came out with the five very concrete pastoral priorities: liturgy, formation, youth, migrant and social mission and of course media – something that youth liked very much. Especially in the area of youth and media it is very much in line with our global redemptorists trust and they are really reaching out to the youth.
We look at our courses that we are doing in our programs and we look at the needs of the youth which I’ve noticed even the last two years, for example concentration span with the younger ones in particular, and the schools are recognizing, that this is actually quite brief; so we are adapting our programs to actually meet that need.
The rebuilding of novena church is not just an upgrading project. This is a mission to preach the gospel anew. And so our dream is to build a Christian community that is committed to evangelization, authentic worship and service to the poor and the abandoned. And so evangelization is the number one mission of Novena Church. Authentic worship is devotion that leads to mission. You can look at authentic worship in two aspects. One is active participation, and we know that all people who come to Novena Church are deeply devoted to this Novena to a Mother of Perpetual Help, but there is second aspect that flows from that. That devotion must now inspire them and motivate them to share the faith, to go out and to serve others. That is authentic worship.
Every year we have over 100 people joining our RCIA for conversion. We hope that this will continue and that many young people who had come to Novena, will also experience the love of God, the love of Mother Mary. We hope that this place is open to all regardless of the beliefs and their religions. They come here and find comfort, solace in terms of difficulties of their life.
This is a place of evangelization, which means, the Word of God is going to be preached to all, irrespective to who they are: rich, poor, whatever color, whatever religion. We come here, so that we will hear this word and our hearts will be open.
Well, this new Novena Church has got plenty of facilities and admittedly is a very, very beautiful church. We must however remember, that awesomely beautiful though it is, it is meant to lift our minds and hearts beyond this world which is new and more beautiful than this church.
Very unique team, the redemptorist mission team, that comprises of the redemptorists and some of the lay missionaries and we reaches out to kids, children of different race and religion and we try to really inspire them to be a better self and also perhaps to have an encounter with God.
We hope to see many young people coming here to experience God, to experience hope in their lives. And this is our dream.
God’s love and promise of redemption is always consistent and that’s not waiver. Here as we know that many people who have caught him for help, God will never abandon them for he cares for those who are marginalized, lonely and always in need of his mercy and graces. Here we must remember to pray for the church that he will always be able to extend and to reach out to those who are in need. Today we pray especially for the redemptorist mission that they may continue as we honor the past, that we may envision also the future, that despite all our differences we can be united and when we are in unity God will bless us abundantly. Today we invoke also the intercession of Mary our Mother that she will extend her mental grace of protection over each and every one of us in our family. May God bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Author: Fr. Gerard Louis CSsR in coordination with Novena Church Channel from the vice-province of Malaysia and Singapore
Novena Church channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0vK7wL3ZFCqKiQxhajr3wA
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