We Are All Little Lost… And It’s Alright

We Are All Little Lost… And It’s Alright

Nightbirde. An amazing woman who blew the world away during her America’s Got Talent audition with her singing and her indomitable spirit to LIVE. She had cancer and had been given a 2% chance to live, and golly, did she make full use of that 2%. My reflection on this:

To find this spirited life, we first need to be found.

Allow me to offer a different perspective on the “Lost and Found” capability of St Anthony of Padua. When we lose things, many of us think of St Anthony, and some of us invoke him when we need to find a parking space (which in my experience turns up within five seconds). He is also known for St Anthony’s Bread, which is about sharing the abundant goodness of God that we have in our possession.

However some of us struggle to let go. We hold on to this thing, this event, this person, this memory of hurt or even a fantasy. The thing is the more we want control, the more we lose control of our true selves.

Nightbirde (Jane Marczewski) wanted to control the direction her cancer was taking her, but with each relapse, she felt that she was losing control, and finally her powerful encounter of God happened – on the bathroom floor.

Talk about hitting rock bottom, literally and figuratively. She was on the bathroom floor because she had been vomiting into the toilet bowl and had no strength to move. When she gave over control to God, she found herself safe in God’s embrace, safe to tell God whatever was in her heart. And somehow, light and peace and infectious joy became hers, and she gave away these newfound “possessions” freely, as we witnessed on America’s Got Talent.

This is my desire for all of us, and especially for the friars – that we are able to let go of the desire to be in control, and allow God to take the steering wheel. This is faith, this is truth, and when we do not acknowledge this wisdom, we become discombobulated. This is why we need fraternity. That is the precious insight of St Francis of Assisi, and as a former Minister General said,

“A fraternity well-lived is the Gospel evangelised.”

The Franciscan Order is focussing on being a contemplative fraternity-in-mission, and during our Custody meetings in July and October, the friars here will be discerning where the Lord is leading us individually and as a fraternity.

For me personally, during these three years as Custos, I have been inspired to deepen the bonds of friendship within the brotherhood through mutual care and trust. We can only be a fraternity, a brotherhood, if we are called to be so by a common Father, which is why our prayer life, the “contemplative” element, is essential to being a Franciscan fraternity.

And as the Father sent the Son into the world, so is the Son sending us. Hence mission is fundamental to our being Franciscans. We friars need to review how we are engaging people, especially those who feel they don’t belong or don’t feel they can be loved. St Francis left the comfort and security of the city to seek out souls beyond the city walls. Where is the Lord calling us to venture into now?

One big question we can ask ourselves is: What if I discover that I am somewhat lost in my interior journey to find my true self? Perhaps if we can be brave enough to acknowledge this, we can sing with Nightbirde that “we are all a little lost … and it’s alright”, and desire to find our way back to the Father, through the powerful intercession of St Anthony, the one who makes sure that what is lost … is found.

Happy and Holy Feast of St Anthony!

OFM Custos,

Custody of St Anthony


The Ministry of the Deacon

The Ministry of the Deacon

Our five deacons have immersed themselves in their new mission. Cosmas Francis is serving in Keningau Diocese (St Theresa Church, Tambunan), Crispus Mosinoh in Penang Diocese (Risen Christ Church, Air Itam), Gerald Saimel in Sandakan Diocese (St Dominic Church, Lahad Datu), Sixtus Pitah in Malacca-Johore Diocese (St Joseph Church, Plentong), and Robin Toha in Singapore Archdiocese (St Joseph Church, Bukit Timah).

The ministry of the deacon has three dimensions – liturgy, word and service.

During the liturgy, the deacon assists the bishop and priests. At the Mass, he proclaims the Gospel, and may be invited to preach the homily. He reads the petitions of the General Intercessions, receives the gifts, prepares the altar, assists with incensing, gives instructions regarding posture and movement, distributes Holy Communion, and dismisses the Assembly.

Outside of the Mass, the deacon assists the priest when he administers the Sacrament of Baptism, brings Viaticum to the dying, presides over prayer services, officiates at wakes, funerals, and burial services, and acts as a witness for marriages and engagements. The deacon is also able to bless religious articles.

However, deacons do not hear confession or preside at Mass.

As ministers of service, there are many options for deacons to perform charitable works. They do outreach to the poor, visit the sick at home, in nursing homes, or in hospitals, care for inmates in prisons and jails. They teach sacramental preparation and religious education classes, and have various administrative duties.

Our deacons are conducting Catechism classes, visiting the poor and the marginalised, making pastoral visits to Basic Ecclesial Communities, and organising recollections for various groups and ministries. They are also helping out at the diocesan level. Friar Gerald provides counselling services, and has been meeting clients for marriage and individual counselling in Sandakan Diocese. Friar Sixtus has been working with the Media Production Office of the Malacca- Johore Diocese. His first assignment is to produce posters and a video for the 50th anniversary celebration of the diocese. Up in the north of Malaya, Friar Crispus is providing spiritual direction to some of the seminarians of the College General (Inter-diocesan Seminary) in Penang Diocese.

All five deacons will be ordained priests soon – Friar Robin Toha on 21 June at the Church of St Mary of the Angels, and Friars Cosmas Francis, Crispus Mosinoh, Gerald Saimel and Sixtus Pitah on 2 July at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

First Profession of Three Friars

First Profession of Three Friars

On 9 April 2022, family and friends gathered with the friars at the Church of St Mary of the Angels to witness the First Profession of vows by our brothers Sylvester Singh, Julian Chua and Timothy Fong.

The Provincial Minister Phillip Miscamble came to Singapore to receive their vows. In his homily, he encouraged the three newly professed friars to continue to deepen their desire to serve the people of God as Friars Minor, and discover the joys of following in the footsteps of St Francis of Assisi.

The ceremony was live-streamed so that family and friars, especially those in Malaysia who were unable to attend in person because of Covid travel restrictions, could witness this happy occasion.

Friars Nelson Evarinus and Marvin Voo renewed their simple vows in the same ceremony. Following the liturgy, the Greccio community hosted family members to a celebratory lunch at the friary.

Friar Nelson Makes His Solemn Profession

Friar Nelson Makes His Solemn Profession

With joy and thanksgiving to God, the Franciscan Friars of the Custody of St Anthony (Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei) are glad to announce and share another good news!

Friar Nelson Evarinus Sipalan will be making his Solemn Profession of Religious Vows at 10 am on the 9th of July at St Aloysius Church, Limbanak, Penampang ,Sabah.

He shared in a post recently that for the past 7 years of his Initial Formation, he “have had great insights, and experienced moments of frustration and fear…a sense of hope, and the certainty that Christ is with me, and inviting me to live and be a herald of the Gospel.” 

Let us continue to support and pray for him as he prepares to make his lifelong commitment to God in the Religious Life as a Franciscan Friar.

To RSVP, kindly email nelsonevarinus@franciscans.sg or contact +65 8383 6681.

5 Friars to be Ordained Priests

5 Friars to be Ordained Priests

With praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God, the Franciscan Friars of the Custody of St Anthony in Malaysia and Singapore joyfully announce the Presbyteral Ordination of Friars Cosmas Francis, Crispus Mosinoh, Gerald Saimel, Robin Toha and Sixtus Pitah, OFM.

Friar Robin Toha will be called to the Order of the Presbyterate by Archbishop William Goh on the 21st June 2022, 4 pm at Church of St Mary of the Angels, Singapore. Booking of seats for the Ordination Mass are now open (30 May 2022). Note: The ordination Mass is a VDS Mass (attendees must be fully vaccinated). Walk-ins for the Mass will be subject to availability. Please book your seats in 𝗘𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗛𝘂𝗯 at https://mycatholic.sg

Meanwhile, Friars Cosmas Francis, Crispus Mosinoh, Gerald Terence and Sixtus Pitah will be called by Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu on the 2nd July 2022, 10 AM at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Sabah. Note: For estimation of guests, please click here to RSVP.

*For any inquiries on the ordination:

in Singapore, email robintoha@franciscans.sg.

in Sabah, email sixtuspeter@franciscans.sg.

Live Streaming Link for Ordination in Singapore on the 21st of June 2022

Singapore Ordination Mass Booklet (Download Here)

Live Streaming Link for Ordination in Sabah on the 2nd of July 2022

Sabah Ordination Mass Booklet (Download Here)

2022 Maundy Thursday Reflection -The Lasting Legacy of The Lord’s Supper and Servant Leadership

2022 Maundy Thursday Reflection -The Lasting Legacy of The Lord’s Supper and Servant Leadership

Today, let us remember the 2 greatest legacies that Jesus leaves with us: The Lord’s Supper and how it has shaped the way we gather as a Christian community to celebrate the life, sacrifice and victory Jesus leaves us with through transforming his gift of bread and wine, into His divine body and blood.

As he knelt down to wash the feet of his disciples, Jesus set the supreme example of humility as our servant leader and he urges us to model after him.

As we partake in the the memorial of the Lord’s Supper, do we focus on being the “leader” or the “servant” and how does this impact the way we serve and lead as Christians?