Friars Cosmas Francis, Crispus Mosinoh, Gerald Terence, Robin Toha and Sixtus Pitah will be called to the Order of Deacons by Archbishop William Goh at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd on 26 November 2021. The 4pm mass will be live-streamed on the Franciscan Friars YouTube channel.
Friars Julian Chua, Sylvester Singh and Timothy Fong entered into the Novitiate at Greccio Friary, Singapore, in January. Novitiate is a period of intense formation for novices to know and experience the form of life of St Francis, to form their minds and hearts more deeply in his spirit, and to test their resolution and suitability for the Franciscan way of life.
The novices pray the Liturgy of the Hours and have an hour of meditation and a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament every day. They attend classes on everything Franciscan – from Constitutions and Statutes to the Order’s colourful history and the writings of Saints Francis and Clare. When they are not praying or studying, they can be found in the garden tending to the flowers and plants or caring for our cats and chickens.
As they near the end of their Novitiate, they each share one thing they have learnt from their first year of life in the Franciscan Order.
Please keep Friars Julian, Sylvester and Timothy in your prayers as they journey towards Temporary Profession in 2022.
A patient said to the friar, “Young man, there is no medicine that can cure me. My problem is here (pointing to his forehead). I know too much, I worry too much, I want to control too much. Only God, in the end, can help. But I am still overanxious.” The friar replied, “Sir, do you believe that God will be good enough for you?” The patient broke down in tears and after a good five minutes of silence, he asked for prayer to surrender, to believe in God, to have the faith of a child again.
This encounter took place when the friar was providing pastoral care for the sick in Mount Alvernia Hospital as part of his Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) programme.
Six student friars – Cosmas Francis, Crispus Mosinoh, Gerald Terence, Sixtus Pitah, Gerald Tan and Robin Toha – are taking the CPE programme that runs from 2 July to 20 November. The programme will help them learn how to provide pastoral service to persons in crisis through action-reflection instructional methods and supervised practice in real-world settings.
They are on attachment with Mount Alvernia Hospital for the 20-week programme, journeying with patients and staff as they learn. A typical two-week cycle comprises six days of providing care for the patients, one day serving as communion and baby blessing ministers on the weekend, one day of group supervision and seminar, and a session of individual supervision.
Through his encounter with the leper, St Francis of Assisi learned to be truly human, humble and obedient to God and his fellow brothers and sisters. Through journeying with patients and staff, the friars are learning to remember to praise God at all times. Through encounters with the sick – such as the one above – the friars learn that we are all first and foremost human beings made in the image and likeness of God, made by love and to love.
Through the experiences in this programme, the friars are reminded once again of their first call – to be brothers to everyone, and called to care for one another. In caring for one another, our God, who is God of relationship, is truly present among us.
Indeed, as it says in Proverbs,
“Iron is sharpened by iron; one person is sharpened by contact with another.”
Student friars Marvin Voo and Nelson Evarinus spent the month of June on a mission exposure and pastoral attachment at St Joseph’s Home, a home for the aged under the care of the Canossian Sisters. They share some of what struck them from the experience.
Friar Marvin: On my third day, I asked the Lord why he had sent me there. God replied during morning prayer in the reading – “Give your bread to those who are hungry, and your clothes to those who are naked. Whatever you own in plenty, devote a proportion to almsgiving. Bless the Lord God in everything; beg him to guide your ways and bring your paths and purposes to their end.” (Tobit 4:16,19).
In a literal sense, I was doing “give your bread to those who are hungry, and your clothes to those who are naked” by helping to bathe and feed the residents, and make their beds.
What gives meaning to what I was doing is “Whatever you own in plenty, devote a proportion to almsgiving”. Sr Geraldine, who was in charge of us, was always telling us – residents and staff – to harvest the smile. One afternoon, a resident who was difficult to handle and cursed almost every day caught my hand as I walked past, and asked me gently if I was still working and when was I going back. I was stunned and touched because that was the nicest thing I had ever heard from him.
I will never forget our fourth day. In the morning, we prayed Lauds with a resident who passed away that evening. That was a reminder to me that I need to live well every second of my life and “Bless the Lord God in everything; beg him to guide your ways and bring your paths and purposes to their end”.
Friar Nelson: I always describe old people as messy, wrinkly, and ugly. But one of the biggest benefits of living many years is one that so many today overlook or dismiss. It’s the wisdom that comes from so much experience in life!
Living and working in St Joseph’s Home for a month made me realise that ministering to the elderly is not a burden but is instead an opportunity to see my future. I remember seeing a poster in a senior centre that declared, “Growing old isn’t for sissies!” As the years go by, we will all relate with that statement more and more. But the Creator who designed our bodies to be affected by the passage of time does not leave us to suffer alone.
Through the prophet Isaiah, He says, “Listen to me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been upheld by me from birth, who have been carried from the womb; even to your old age, I am he, and even to grey hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry and will deliver you” (Isaiah 46:3-4).
Two years ago, Januarius was diagnosed with an acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. The Make-A-Wish Foundation (Singapore) has granted Januarius’ wish to become a Franciscan friar. He was brought to Greccio Friary and spend a day with the friars. It was a memorable and special day for him and his family as well as the friars.
Today, we rejoice in thanksgiving as Januarius does not need further chemotherapy session anymore. Watch the video below to follow Januarius latest and inspiring faith journey!