SINGAPORE – Every alternate Thursday morning, four to five women make their way to the CatholicNews office to help deliver CatholicNews to subscribers. They are affectionately known as the “CN packers”.
Some of them have been helping out for about two decades, since when the CatholicNews office was at Queen Street.
Church of Our Lady of Lourdes parishioner Eva Maria Lee, 78, began helping out 23 years ago and has never thought of stopping because she enjoys the work.
Basically, the CN packers place copies of CatholicNews into pre-addressed plastic envelopes to be sent to subscribers. This process takes two to three hours. When they have to pack other subscriptions – Word Among Us, Catholic Digest and God’s Word Today – the day is longer.
Mildred Longue, 85, has been doing this for 20 years. A nun from St. Anthony Convent recommended her to this ministry but Mildred cannot remember who the nun was.
Mildred used to help out at the canteen at St. Joseph’s Church (Victoria Street) and participated in the choir at Church of Sts. Peter and Paul. Ever active, she continues to be involved in ministries at the Sts. Peter and Paul parish.
She continues to be a CN packer “because I’m happy doing this work”, she said. “I consider myself doing this for God’s people.”
Molly Chew, 65, was in her forties when she began helping out. “I found that since I had a lot of time, I might as well help. Now, I find the job very interesting so I continue,” she said simply.
About four years ago, Molly also started going to the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd to help sell CatholicNews to worshippers attending the lunchtime Mass.
Does she ever plan to stop?
“So long as I’m healthy, I’ll help around,” she replied.
Molly has also brought other helpers to the team. One of them, Mary Quek, came three years ago. She walks to the CatholicNews office at Highland Road from her place at Hougang.
“It’s a time of fellowship with these ladies,” Mary said. “It’s simple work that we do, and we enjoy it.”
Another helper, Iris Tan, was also invited to be a CN packer by Molly six years ago.
She said, “It was a few months after my baptism in 2003 so I decided to join after being recommended by Molly. That time, Eva had gone for an operation and the helpers were short-handed so I came to help.”
Iris resides at Pasir Ris. She said, “I’m happy with the fellowship.”
Typically after the morning’s work is done, the ladies will head off to the coffeeshop for lunch. On special occasions such as Christmas and Chinese New Year they celebrate with the CatholicNews office staff.
-By Joyce Gan