“There is a great power of evil choking our young people!” Fr Simon Pereira exclaimed, expressing what he felt when he visited the various pubs and discos in Singapore. “ Our youths are really straying away,” he lamented while mentioning that about 25% of students in every school are involved in satanic worship. Fr Simon then requested for 10 youths with ‘fire in their hearts” and “passion in their blood” to “commit themselves to the Lord”, and to have enough “zeal to stir the Archdiocese”, to “shake the Catholic Church”!
These powerful words were spoken at ‘A Starlight Celebration’, the Novena Church youth night held on September 6th. Organised by the resident youth group there, Vine and Branches, this event also had many similarly powerful items in the programme. A Benediction and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament conducted by Redemptorist Fr Gino saw many people, young and old, cured of physical and emotional ailments. The True Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament was also carried through the 2000-strong crowd, which had almost all kneeling in adoration. Colourful items like the tambourine dance, a joint effort by the ‘Alpha and Omega’ and the ‘Tambourine & Flag Dance Ministry’ (TDFM), had the youths clapping and dancing in tune.
Held under the starlit night sky in the church carpark in the cool breeze, local radio celebrities Colin Gomez and Mark Van Cuylenberg (Flying Dutchman) hosted the event in their usual witty styles. Fr Simon in his talk also introduced two important persons in his life, Frs Leo Coffey and Patrick John O’Neill. Fr Coffey, who is the Redemptorist Vice Provincial, told the people that they have been given a great gift—their faith. Fr O’Neill, who was the novice master of Fr Simon, is now based in Walgett, Australia. Fr Simon had his best advice in life given to him by Fr O’Neill, which was to “stay close to our Lord and Lady”!
Vine and Branches put up two interesting items of a dance and skit, which had the audience clapping in appreciation. The dance comprised of funky and worship steps to the tunes of ‘Hail Holy Queen’ and ‘I Will Follow Him’ taken from the movie soundtrack of ‘Sister Act’. The skit presented a ‘re-enactment of the youth scene in Singapore’, which had the audience laughing in stitches as it was done in perfect Singlish with humourous colloquialism and sexual innuendos.
Local singers Hilary Francis and Steven Joseph also entertained the youths with songs dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. 18-year-old Mark Fernandez, commented, “I had a really good time. I wish Fr Simon would organise more events like this in the future!”