The Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore


Our History

The Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore was formed in 1952 by Fr Joy S.J, its first chaplain, when several Catholic Medical students felt a need to encourage study and discussion of medico-moral questions.

Early History.

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Old CMG Logo

The first Master of the Guild was Dr. A.M. D’Costa, a well-known gynecologist practicing at Hill Street. Of the first 26 members, most were life members on payment of $200. As part of their apostolate, a number of them did some form of charitable work, like contributing medical and dental services to Homes for the Aged, giving lectures on marriage preparation, contributing talks to the Catholic Family Social Movement,

and teaching the Ovulation Method, which later came under the auspices of the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council. Some doctors were also involved in sex-education to senior students in the Catholic schools. Dr. A.T. Chong also looked after the abandoned babies who were left at the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus at Victoria Street.

Meetings were held monthly at the Catholic Centre on Bras Basah Road. However, as attendance gradually fell, meetings were held at members’ homes once every two months which consisted of dinner-cum discussions or talks given on some current topic or medico-moral question. An annual weekend retreat was conducted at Kingsmead Hall where doctors stayed in and had all their meals in the Hall.

Our Spiritual Directors through the years have included Fr. L.A. Egan S.J., Fr. Albert Brys, Fr. Nicholas Chia, the present Archbishop of Singapore, and Father Dunne CSSR. Fr. Colin Tan S.J. is our current Spiritual Director.

Milestones

Among its more significant milestones, the CMG made clear its opposition to the Abortion Bill in 1968, presenting a memorandum in 1969 after the first reading of the Bill, and again in 1974 when the abortion bill was liberalized.

In 1972, when membership was standing at 47, a referendum regarding de-registration of the Guild was raised because of poor member support. 25 members replied, of whom, 13 were in favour of carrying on, while 12 were for deregistration. The committee felt that there was just sufficient support to continue with the Guild.

With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the CMG grew slowly and steadily in its membership and apostolate. There are now about 400 Catholic medicos on our list. Among the more significant apostolates that have benefited the Archdiocese of Singapore, the Natural Family Planning (NFP) Programme stands out. The NFP pilot project started in Church of the Risen Christ in May 1973 and in Novena, Immaculate Heart of Mary and Our Lady of Perpetual Succors (O.L.P.S.) followed later by SS Peter and Paul.


The Guild Today

Besides teaching NFP, CMG member have also volunteered their time to give talks to schools and church groups on subjects in the field of bioethics such as sex education, abortion, contraception, euthanasia, and lately stem cell research and Advanced Medical Directives. Public forums have been organized almost every year since 1999 to share the rich teachings of the Church in these areas.
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New CMG Logo

Yet talking alone is never enough. Some members also engage in work to help the less privileged, for example providing free services to adoptees of the St Vincent de Paul, organizing conferences in Singapore and taking part in overseas missions. Many of our young members have participated in medical missions to countries such as Tanzania, Republic of Congo, the Philippines, and Myanmar.

“If the Lord does not build a house, in vain do its builders labour.” In other words, all our work will come to naught if our ministry is not sustained for, and by, the Lord. The CMG provides regular spiritual nourishment for its members through weekly bring-your-own-Bible sessions where we meditate on and discuss the coming Sunday’s scripture readings, formation programmes on moral theology (jointly organised by WM!/CMG/SPI/CSCC), a monthly mass and an annual retreat.

The welfare of Catholic medicos, whether they are doctors, dentists or pharmacists, is an area of deep concern and importance for the Guild. The Guild is constantly seeking ways to help Catholic medicos fulfill their vocation in life. Mutual support in all forms, whether by prayer, word or deed, is extremely important, in our desire to be faithful always to the teachings of our Lord in His Catholic Church. This is especially so in the present day and age, when the challenges facing us appear very daunting.

Besides serving in Singapore, some of the CMG members have also been involved with regional and international Catholic medical bodies, in efforts to reach out to other doctors worldwide. For example, Dr Ian Snodgrass has served as Vice President of the Asian Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (AFCMA). Dr John Lee has served as President of the AFCMA and later as Vice President of the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC). Some CMG members have also received recognition for their dedication and service. Four long-standing members of the Guild, Dr. Ian Snodgrass, Dr. John Lim, Dr. Victor Wee and Mrs. Vivienne Wee, were conferred the Ecclesiastical Honors in the Order of St Sylvester at the Church of St. Francis Xavier in recognition of services rendered to the Church.

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Guild Masters

Over the past fifty years, the Guild has had many Masters. A few noteworthy doctors who held this position for an extra ordinarily long time were Dr. Victor Wee, Dr. John Lee, and Dr. John Hui. The current Master, Dr. Sally Ho, has been in office for the past two years. The challenges that lie ahead are rapidly growing and virtually impossible to surmount with our limited human wisdom and strength. Yet, we are confident that with the Guild consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, guided by the Holy Spirit, and faithful to the teaching authority of the Holy Catholic Church, the CMG will continue to “put out into the deep” at the beck and call of The One True Master, our Lord Jesus Christ, and bring in fish-a-plenty for the Kingdom of God.

-Complied by Dr John Lim and Dr John Hui


Related Pages

  1. Our Stand On Abortion
  2. Our Constitution
  3. Prayer of the Catholic Physician
  4. The CMG Pledge
  5. Office Bearers 62nd CMG Council
  6. Our Patron Saints
  7. Our History



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"I promise to consecrate my life to the service of humanity in the footsteps of Jesus Christ the Divine Physician."