The Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore was formed in 1952 by Fr Joy SJ, its first chaplain, when several Catholic Medical students felt a need to encourage study and discussion of medico-moral questions.
The first Master of the Guild was Dr. A.M. D’Costa, a well-known gynaecologist practicing at Hill Street. As part of their apostolate, guild members 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.
The CMG has been active in its apostolates, as seen in its opposition to the Abortion Bill in 1968 and introduction of the Natural Family Planning (NFP) Programme in 1973. Some members also engage in work to help the less privileged like providing free services to adoptees of the St Vincent de Paul society, organizing conferences in Singapore and taking part in overseas missions. Many members have also participated in medical missions to countries such as Tanzania, Republic of Congo, the Philippines, and Myanmar. The CMG also provides regular spiritual nourishment for its members through weekly bring-your-own-Bible sessions where members meditate on and discuss the coming Sunday’s scripture readings, formation programmes on moral theology, a monthly mass and an annual retreat.
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.
This article has been compiled by Dr John Lim and Dr John Hui. It was reproduced from the Catholic Medical Guild’s website and edited for brevity. The full article can be read at http://www.cmg.org.sg/about-us/our-history/.