Charities Week 2023

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Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Once again, Lent comes to call us to repentance. But this time, it might feel ill-timed. After all, our sins aside, there are more than enough reasons to feel gloomy. As we attempt to put the pandemic behind us, other troubles have emerged. Large increases in cost of living, threats of economic downturn and violent conflicts greet us daily in the news and in life. For so many of us, surviving only gets harder. So why should we care about Lent?

Our Eastern Orthodox brethren often say that Lent is a season of “bright sadness”. Yes, it is a time to lament our shortcomings. Yet, it is also a joyful season because we know that Christ will rise from the grave, and we will join Him in freedom from darkness and evil. Perhaps a similar paradox applies to ongoing challenges. Getting by is indeed more difficult. But God has the power to bring greater good out of evil. Maybe this trying time is also a moment given to the Church to shine as the light of the world. Maybe this is the hour for us to witness to the Gospel together, by showing love to our neighbour. “Everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another,” Jesus said (John 13:35).

Right now, one of the things you can do to show love is by contributing to Charities Week. Your donation to this annual fundraising campaign will be used by Caritas Singapore and its member organisations to serve our neighbours in need, such as the disadvantaged children, vulnerable elderly, persons with disabilities and mental health conditions, low-income families, those marginalised by society and more. You can also give by pledging to leave a legacy gift, or finding ways to volunteer your services to a charitable cause. Even the smallest contribution can yield surprising fruits! Recall when Jesus’s disciples spent the whole night fishing and caught nothing. As morning came and a stranger asked them to cast their net again, in an act of faith, they chose to cast it just once more and “they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish.” (John 21:6) It was in that unexpected moment that they could recognise the risen Jesus.

Brothers and sisters, this is no doubt a challenging time for everyone. But for some of us, it is immensely tough. Lent is ultimately about looking forward to the rise of our Lord who died in love for us. So, as we await Easter, let us return that love by coming together to help our fellow brothers and sisters in need. Let us allow the light of God’s love to shine through us. Let us rise above the darkness of our time. Let us rise as one.

Yours in Christ,
William Cardinal Goh
Archbishop of Singapore