- Landings is not a ministry for “lapsed” Catholics. Surprise! By definition, “lapsed” in this situation refers to someone who is no longer following the rules and practices of a religion or doctrine, or a non-practising Catholic – and nobody can force a non-practising Catholic to, well, practise.Who we reach out to are those who already seek to get reacquainted with the Church they had left behind. After all, reconciliation can really only begin with a desire for it. That seed for reconciliation planted by God in our hearts must be cooperated with our will to activate a desire to return to Church. Only then can our Landings mission start and your step back towards the Church, begin.
Something like this: God plants seed for reconciliation + Our will to return to Church = Landings mission
- Once upon a time, many, many years ago, the community at Landings took a vote to decide on who our patron saint should be. It was a tight competition between a mother-and-son pair – none other than Saint Augustine and Saint Monica! Saint Augustine, perhaps the most famous “lapsed” and “returning Catholic” ever was an obvious choice for a patron saint but in the end, it was his mother who stole the title, if only because it is by her most fervent prayers and dogged faith that her wayward son was led back to the Church. We even have a prayer for intercession written especially for our patron saint:
“O St. Monica,
Exemplary Mother of the great Augustine, you pursued your wayward son with prayerful cries to heaven; his saintly conversion is the fruit of your tears.
Inspired by your persistence and profound faith, may my life become a testimony for Christ to welcome back those who have wandered away from God.
Intercede for me here at Landings as I ask you to pray with us always-returning Catholics (we pause to recall others and ourselves…)
Grant me the same fortitude, patience and trust in the Lord that you possess in journeying with them, and obtain for me as perfect a conversion as you were able to obtain for your son.
In all that I say and do, may I always be guided by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
- In Singapore, Landings started at the Church of the Holy Spirit at 248 Upper Thomson Road, next to the famous The Roti Prata House where many suppers were had, discussions held and decisions made. One of those decisions made was to have Landings sessions held on Monday nights. Why? Simply because that happened to be the quietest night at the Holy Spirit parish – most other weeknights were filled with other ministry sessions and we wanted to offer the courageous returning Catholic certain privacy as they take that first step back to Church. Herein lies the heart of what we do at Landings – we will always work hard on our end to meet you halfway. Just as the father ran to the prodigal son who returned home, just as the shepherd will go out of his way to find his lost sheep, just as God will come to embrace us so long as we wish to be with Him, we at Landings too, will do what it takes to ease your difficult journey home as best as we can.
- The official colour for Landings is purple, a result of several factors coming together. One of the questions we had to ask ourselves, “What colours are not already taken up by other ministries?” Logistics, logistics! Finally, purple was chosen to be our official colour, partly because well, no other ministry has claimed purple yet in our parish, but more significantly, as a symbol for spiritual repentance, reconciliation and renewal.
- Officially, Landings is a 10-week programme. That was how we ran for a year from 2008 to 2009. Until one fateful ministry retreat we had with then Brother Jude David who challenged us to grow spiritually closer through community sessions. And so, aside from the official 10-week runs available a few times a year, the Landings community has been meeting “every Monday, come rain or shine” for nine whole years. Up until very recently, we even offered our presence on public holidays! #dedication
- Branding matters. Now you know about our colour purple, and you know about our patron saint and prayer for her intercession. Do you know we have our own hymn, our own tagline (“Welcoming Returning Catholics”), hashtag (“#alwaysreturning”), social media presence (find “Landings – Singapore” on Facebook and “landings.sg” on instagram) all built on the mission of helping the returning Catholic reconnect with the Church? Please, let’s be friends.
- Outside of the digital sphere, we are now physically present in three different churches – Church of the Holy Spirit, Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour and very recently, at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. The inaugural run at the Cathedral begins this Friday 6 April, and runs at Holy Spirit and OLPS parishes begin on Monday 27 August 2018. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.
- In the last 10 years, we have learnt that every returning Catholic arrives at Landings with some fear and trepidation… and we have learnt that we at Landings receives and welcomes every returning Catholic with an equal measure of trembling and nerves. Just perhaps, this is another good reminder that we are all “returning” in more ways than one, strangers and friends each with our own failings and strengths who have come together to make a journey together in faith and trust. So if you’re scared of us, know we’re likely more frightened than you!
- We are not theologians at Landings. We do not have the answers for why we should continue striving to be good Catholics. Most days, we are struggling ourselves to be faithful to our Lord. Who we are however, is a group of people who have experienced God moments and encountered God’s mercy in those times. We have spotted Him waving to us when we least noticed Him, and we have gradually come to realise where our hearts call us to belong.So when you come to Landings, don’t expect us to know it all. You’ll be disappointed. But if you’re looking for some company and a gentle way to begin a returning process to our Catholic faith, maybe try knocking on this door. We won’t ask “Who’s there?”; we’ll simply say, “Welcome.”
- Finally, we are turning 10! Landings had started on the weekend Masses of 31 May/1 June in 2008 and this year, we celebrate our 10th birthday. We are both proud and humble to be reaching this milestone: proud that we have been toiling on this mission field for the last 10 years and humbled to know we could not and would not be here today if not for the grace of God. On 29 May, we celebrate our 10th year anniversary with Mass at Church of St. Anthony where our Spiritual Director Father Andrew Wong resides. In “Grace & Gratitude”, we will give thanks and we thank you for your continued prayers.