Preparations began as early as 5pm! Many hands came together to prepare the room, decorating the walls and floors, setting up instruments, laptop and projector, cutting paper, moving furniture, carrying equipment up and down etc. (No photos because everyone was hard at work!)
By 7pm, under the supervision of Nat, the room was beautifully draped in red, orange and yellow hues. The floors near the front of the room were cozily embraced in a sea of multi-coloured rugs, with cushion seats appropriately interspersed among them. Rows of chairs were arranged neatly behind for those who less inclined to sitting on the floor. A hundred tealights gently illuminated the room. Simple stacked boxes were placed on both sides of the room as decorations. Musicians for the night Nana and Andrew rehearsed while the helpers familiarized themselves with the songs. 7.50pm, and ushers were sent down to direct parishioners up to the RCIA room. Guests were greeted with smiles and handed pen, paper and envelope.
Introductions were made as parishioners broke the ice by playing a game of “2 truths and a lie”. Followed by a short briefing and photo sharing about Taize by Steph Sim, who had just been there to experience it over the summer holidays. (For more about Taize, visit here!)
We then began by enthroning the Taize cross, the candle, the Bible, the icon of Our Lady, and a miniature statue of St John Vianney. Songs of praise and thanksgiving were sung and as we lifted our voices, our hearts were also raised and so were our intentions for our priests. The repeated melodious and harmonious strains were calming and peaceful, making it a wonderful time spent with God.
After the general intercessions for priests were chanted, a period of silence was set aside, following which we were each invited to write a letter to a priest in Singapore, whose name we picked at random from a box. It didn’t matter if we did not know who they were, because it was simply an opportunity to encourage, affirm and thank them for who they are and for all that they do.
Finally, we ended off with singing a litany of all the priests in our archdiocese, collectively responding “Lord, bless our priests”. I think most of us had no idea there were so many priests around in our little island! (About 132, if you were wondering.) I’m sure everyone left that night with a feeling of gratitude to our priests, without whom we would not be able to receive the Sacraments!
Altogether, an evening of “joy, simplicity and mercy”.
Please join the YOUhf in continuing to pray for all priests in this Year For Priests!