30 March 2022

Towards New Life in our Parishes

The journey towards Easter at St Ann’s Mission in Sarawak is part of the ongoing Franciscan celebration of simplicity, goodness and beauty. The liturgies enhance the experience of prayer, contemplation and community in this large parish where the Franciscan community, comprising two priests, serves the pastoral and sacramental needs of about 25,000 parishioners in 40 villages spread over a land area approximately the size of Singapore.

The faithful are mostly indigenous Dayan people of Bidayuh heritage. Masses are celebrated in English, Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin in the main mission centre, and in Bidayuh in the village chapels that serve the sacramental needs of the rural communities.

Over the course of Lent, the mission centre and village chapels were active centres for communal gathering and prayer. Prayer leaders in the individual villages led the Stations of the Cross every Friday, and monthly Praise and Worship sessions were adapted for the Lenten season. The Sacrament of Reconciliation was celebrated over two consecutive weeks with the help of visiting priests.

For the Easter Triduum, the parish friars and a visiting friar-priest will celebrate masses and services from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday in five locations.

In Singapore, the Church of St Mary of the Angels celebrates Lent this year with the theme “From Cosmic Dust to an Easter Garden”. Parishioners have been invited to make amends for their sins against God’s creation and to take time to pray for our common home and for those who depend on it. As a community of faith, we treasure God’s creation and seek to protect those who share it, our vulnerable brothers and sisters above all.

We recognise that our misuse of creation has led to tragic and unjust suffering for people around the globe. Hence, this Lent, parishioners have been invited to turn away from harming the good gift of creation, and take actions that will bring us into a new relationship with God, our world and one another. The parish team has prepared a booklet of weekly reflections focusing on creation, and a Lenten Kit for use in Lenten preparations. Details can be found at stmary.sg/lent and the parish YouTube channel.

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