Families representing both English- and Mandarin-speaking Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) processed into church 20 minutes before 8 pm on Thursday 28 July 2016 to kick-off this year's Triduum. After reciting together the Novena to St Ignatius of Loyola, Mandarin-speaking parishioners made their way to Costantini Community Centre for Mass celebrated by Fr Paul Hu. Fr Michael Raymond OFM was the main celebrant at the English Mass while SIC Parish Priest Fr Andrew Wong was the concelebrant. As was done last year, this year's Triduum is also anchored by the parish pastoral theme for 2015-2016 – To be a Worshipping, Welcoming & Caring Community – with the first day focusing on SIC as a Worshipping Community.
In his homily, Fr Michael explained that the vibrancy of a worshipping community depends ultimately on the invididual. It is the invididual's prayers, thirst and desire for & experience of God which will affect his/her family, BEC and the parish. Fr Michael also shared that BECs can be worshipping communities by acting as instruments or channels of prayer by lift up those who are broken or lonely or lost or ostracised to Almighty God. He shared his powerful experience of living for a month with the nuns of the Missionaries of Charity in Australia and their dedication to prayer – kneeling for an hour before the Blessed Sacrament early in the morning and in the evening, every day.
Following the same pattern as for opening night, coordinators of ministries formed a procession into church to start the second night of the Triduum on Friday 29 July 2016 followed by recitation of the novena to SIC's patron saint. A Welcoming Community was the focus of the second day of the Triduum Mass with Fr Michael as the main celebrant. Fr Michael highlighted the Parable of the Sower in asking attendees what type of soil are they for the seed (Word of God) to grow: Soil along the path or hard soil or soil with thorns or good soil. Referring to the Parable of the Good Samaritan, he surmised that only someone who has experienced the pain of rejection will know what it means to reach out to someone who is rejected. That is why the Samaritan (who were ostracised by Jews) reached out to the man who had been beaten & left half dead. Another example of reaching out was when Jesus showed mercy to the woman caught in the act of adultery – a willingness to go down to the level of sinners, the broken & unloved, and meet them where they are.
On the final day of the Triduum, Fr Michael was the main celebrant with Fr Paul, Fr Andrew and Fr Philip Tan CDD as the concelebrants at the bilingual Mass which started at 6 pm. Fr Michael gave a brief recap of points he highlighted over the past two days and reminded parishioners of the importance of letting go in order to serve God & His Church. An important message he repeated was that we cannot give what we do not have – not just material possessions but virtues like compassion, forgiveness & understanding. Fr Paul, who was the main celebrant at the Triduum Mass for the Mandarin-speaking community on the corresponding Thursday & Friday, then gave the homily in Mandarin. Fr Andrew presented Frs Michael and Paul with love offerings in appreciation for making the Triduum a success. Priests joined parishioners for a fellowship dinner after Mass.
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Photography: John Ari Ragai, Matthew Soo & Peter Law