A singing trip to the Philippines for Church of St Bernadette choir members also saw them lugging humanitarian aid to give to poor people and flood victims.
St Bernandette Church choir members pose with Fr Rufino Sescon after singing at a Mass in Makati, Manila. The group brought 350 kg of humanitarian aid for flood victims and poor people in the Philippines.
According to choirmaster John Lee, the May 4-7 trip to Manila aimed at fostering greater bonding among his Emmanuel Choir members. They had also been invited to sing at the Santo Nino de Paz Chapel at the Greenbelt Shopping Mall in Makati on May 6.
The idea of offering some humanitarian service evolved during planning discussions.
A choir member, Ms Theresa Liu, had suggested that since it was only a four-day trip, “why not give up 10 kg of our baggage allowance and bring some clothing for the poor and flood victims?”
Choir members agreed. Together with several Chinese Choir members and catechists who joined the group of 40 for the trip, participants packed 350 kg of items such as second-hand clothing, children’s shoes, watches and stationery into their luggage.
Monetary donations were also collected.
All these were given to Fr Rufino Sescon, chaplain of the Santo Nino de Paz Chapel.
According to Mr Lee, Fr Sescon commended the group for singing the Lord’s Prayer and the Communion hymn in Tagalog during the Mass and thanked them for bringing “cheer to our poor and recent flood victims with their donations”.
“We will direct their kind donations to Caritas Manila,” the priest said, adding that their visit “exemplified the meaning of Catholicism and the universal solidarity of the Church”.
In appreciation of the humanitarian gesture, Fr Sescon presented a replica of the Santo Nino statue of the Child Jesus to Mr Lee.
According to Mr Lee, the humanitarian service the choir undertook added a fresh dimension to their evangelising efforts, which include yearly Christmas carolling at hotels and shopping malls.
In addition to singing at the recent Mass, the Singapore group also visited the Malacanang Palace, the historical Intramuros area, and churches such as the all-steel San Sebastian Church and the famous Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo.
Participants said they enjoyed the trip.
“The idea of combining the trip with the charity approach is good,” said Chinese Choir leader Joseph Heo.
“I enjoyed myself very much, and fellowship among members was remarkable.”
Stefanie Dyason, 17, said, “It was truly an enriching experience for me as I saw the other side of life that I had not seen before. I am thankful for my family and appreciate more of what I have now.”