On the night of the 24th of August, I slowly made my way to church. It was the beginning of the new week, just one of the many weeks in this Year for Priests that began on 19 June 2009. The Holy Father’s fundamental reason for a special Year for Priests is “to deepen the commitment of all priests to interior renewal”. It also coincides with the 150th anniversary of the death of St John Vianney, patron saint of priests.
Why was I heading to church on a Monday night?
In view that we are amidst the Year of Priests and that the Holy Family Church was hosting the statue St John Vianney an hour of song and reflection was organized. It was an opportunity for the assembly to affirm, pray and show appreciation to our priests. It was a way to show support to those who selflessly serve God and continue to guide the church.
At 8 pm, the lights illuminating the church isles dimmed and the sound of the flute filled the air. The Genesis II choir were facilitating by leading the assembly through a song list of taize chants and hymns. The assembly prayerfully followed, guided by PowerPoint slides that were flashed onto screens. As they moved through the song list, the slides provided tidbits of information regarding various disciples and followers of Christ. The mood surrounding church was calm, peaceful and devout.
During the hour, time was also given for the assembly to write affirmations to any priest. It could be addressed to thank, affirm, wish or simply communicate with the respective priests. Slips of papers and writing materials were handed out and many spent a few minutes on this, with some choosing to write multiple letters addressed to various priests.
To end the hour of song and reflection, a song written by our own parishioner, Chris De Silva was specially selected due to its meaningful and appropriate lyrics. As the choir sang the song, ‘To Follow You’, many of us were painted a picture on what it was like to lovingly follow God and heed his calling. Gasps of awe were heard throughout church when the slides flashed Fr. Patrick Goh’s picture along with the caption ’40 years of priesthood’.
As I left church following the end of the hour of song and reflection, I left appreciating the work of our priests, their commitment and desire to do God’s work. In this Year of Priests, let us continue to pray for their well being, spiritual renewal and health.