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)



Embracing the Vows

Embracing the Vows

How do I say how I feel on my journey? For seven years, I have been listening and discerning during this part of my life. I have had great insights, and experienced moments of frustration and fear. I have a sense of hope, and the certainty that Christ is with me, and inviting me to live and be a herald of the Gospel. As a friar, I am working at ensuring Christ is my centre always, and not myself. I am moving beyond fear, beyond looking at the unknown blankly, beyond my comforts. I am moving deeper into the reality that the joy of the Gospel calls me to.

Friar Nelson posing at Greccio Friary’s staircase.

I know I must embrace this time with hope as this is a key sign of joy. I must embrace this time with faith as this is central to the Gospel. I must embrace this time with love as love is the face of Christ I meet in each of my brother friars, and in creation and every place the friars live.

As I prepare for my Solemn Profession, I am glad to have this time to go back to the moment when I was first called to this journey. In reflecting on the call of Moses, Abraham, Mother Mary, John the Baptist and St Francis, I realised that we are called in different and unique ways.

I will promise the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and now I know that these formidable– sounding promises are meant to be liberating and not restrictive, even though they mean living within certain boundaries.

Bread freshly baked by Friar Nelson.

For me, poverty is best expressed in trying to live modestly, in not getting attached to or obsessed with material possessions, and in attempting to live a life of generous service to others, putting their needs before mine. I see celibate chastity as sharing generously with the people with whom I live and work, and promoting the idea that the deepest kind of intimacy involves reverencing and respecting others as whole persons, not just an exchange of bodily fluids.

As for obedience, there was a time when I defined obedience in a very narrow way, thinking that becoming a friar meant giving up my own will, and regarding the directives of the community’s leaders as the will of God. I have come to understand that the Franciscan vow of obedience is about giving public witness to the importance of listening and responding to God’s call. In other words, the vow of obedience expresses our Christian conviction that it’s not about me. Being a follower of Jesus means dying to ourselves and living for God.

Friar Nelson Evarinus OFM

Hanging Out with the Friars : 1st Vocation Evening 2022

Hanging Out with the Friars : 1st Vocation Evening 2022

On Feb 27th we had our first vocation evening for the 2022 called “Hanging Out with the Friars”.

A total of 19 young men turned up. They came from all walks of life and locations around Singapore.

The objective of this evening, is not so much about recruiting men to join the Friars.

Rather, following the last words of St Francis to his brothers, “I have done what was mine to do. May Christ teach you what is yours”, this evening was to invite young men to discover where God could be nudging them towards in the first place.

Could it be married, single, Religious or Diocesan life?

More important than the numbers, the vocation team feels that one must first know where could God be inviting them to, before they take the next steps.

This was why being the first gathering for the year, and with Lent approaching in a few days time (2 Mar), the theme chosen was on “Listening”.

The evening began with the Friars getting to know the participants. For safety, friars and participants were grouped in 5’s. This also allowed both friars and the participants to get to know each other better over the course of the evening.

Subsequently, the session continued with a short input on “Listening”, inviting the participants to listen not just with our ears, but also with the rest of our body such as our eyes and our hearts.

After the short input, our novice; Friar Sylvester Singh, shared his personal vocation journey to the Franciscan Order, before they resumed into their groups for further sharing.

The evening then ended with night prayer.

We hope through such opportunities, many would make use of this to first know where could God be asking of them.

Our next session will be held on May 8th from 6.30pm to 9.00pm. It will be on both “in person” and “virtual” to cater to anyone from Malaysia who would be interested to participate.

For further information, please contact the Vocation Office at: Vocations.ofms@gmail.com