Catholics learn how to pray the new Roman missal in sign language so as to join their deaf counterparts during Mass
For several months, Catholics from various parishes spent their Sunday afternoons learning basic religious sign language from volunteers of the Singapore Catholic Deaf Community (SCDC).
Besides learning the alphabet and how to sign common words and phrases to communicate with the deaf, participants also learnt how to sign the prayers used in the new Roman missal.
This is so that they can join the deaf community when they pray.
About 55 participants took part in the course held at the Church of the Holy Trinity.
Parish priest Fr Edward Lim, who is SCDC’s spiritual director, said he was very happy to see two deaf youths from SCDC, Aloysius Lee and Michael Goo, rise to the occasion to teach the participants sign language.
Goo, in particular, taught them the “new” signs for the Mass so participants can pray with the deaf community more effectively.
Participants found the course an inspiring experience. “I have found that singing praise and worship songs and praying in sign language helps me to appreciate more the message in the songs and prayers recited,” said Ms Mikaela Kwee from the Church of the Holy Trinity.
Ms Doris Yeung said she felt the deaf community was “reaching out to us” and decided to respond. She found the course “very interactive”.
“We were taught to sign the prayers and hymns in the Mass which we most enjoy,” she shared.
Joshua Goh an undergraduate at Nanyang Polytechnic’s School of Nursing, together with four other friends from the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, said they were motivated to join the course after journeying with Goo in the same RCIA programme.
They said they wanted to be able to communicate more effectively with him.
Goh shared, “Since I am studying nursing, being able to communicate with people, including those who are hearing impaired, will help me understand them better to meet their needs and ensure faster recovery.”
On May 27, participants, together with their families and friends, celebrated the Pentecost Mass in sign language at the chapel in the Church of the Holy Trinity.
Members of the Catholic deaf community, who usually attend Masses at Immaculate Heart of Mary and St Mary of the Angels churches, also attended.
Fr Lionel Thomas, from the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Johor Bahru, who is spiritual director of the deaf group there, was also present.
SCDC now has more than 100 members.
The Singapore Catholic Deaf Community has an office at Catholic Archdiocesan Education Centre, 2 Highland Road #03-20, Singapore 549102. Email address: email@example.com
By Louisa Ho