Message from Archbishop William Goh
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
As the season of Lent descends upon us, even as we celebrate 200 years of the Catholic faith in Singapore, the Church invites us again to ignite our faith and prepare ourselves for our Lord’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday. It is the Church’s most important celebration as St Paul said, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile,” and then he declared, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died” (1 Cor 15:17-20).
Although Easter is a joyful event that the Church continues to remember after thousands of years, we must not forget that it is preceded by the painful memory of our Lord’s Passion. Likewise, our ongoing Catholic200SG celebrations are possible only because of the sacrifices of the early missionaries that came here. As I reflect on this reality, I cannot but think about the extraordinary suffering inflicted by the pandemic crisis upon all peoples, especially the people of Singapore. While many have weathered the crisis, I am pained by the thought of those who could not, especially persons in the peripheries who have been pushed deeper into poverty and hardship.
Amidst these thoughts and feelings, I recall an extraordinary moment one year ago at the peak of the crisis. It was a rainy evening as the Holy Father stood alone in an empty St Peter’s Square, meditating on a gospel passage. The text tells us that Jesus and his disciples were crossing the sea in the night when a storm battered the boat they were in. The disciples were then driven to despair and they called upon Jesus. Having calmed the storm, Jesus asked them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mk 4:37–40). The Holy Father suggested that Jesus’s question is, in fact, an invitation to his disciples to trust in God. In the same way, Jesus also asks us today to reawaken our Easter faith. This faith, however, is not a private and comfortable faith. It is one that is anchored by the painful cross of Jesus that he bore out of love for us, and one that calls us to put our hope into practice.
Sisters and brothers, I want to suggest that we can put our faith and hope into practice this Lent by remembering our vulnerable neighbours, as well as sharing with them our resources as generously as we can in this time of great need. By doing so, we are picking up the baton and continuing the work of the early missionaries who were committed to serving those in need in Singapore. One way you can do so is by supporting the Catholic Charities Week Appeal of 2021. The financial contribution you make will be used by Caritas Singapore and its member organisations to serve our marginalised neighbours, such as disadvantaged children and youth, vulnerable elderly, persons with disabilities and mental health conditions, as well as the financially poor, so that they can lead meaningful, dignified lives.
The great prophet Isaiah wrote, “If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday” (Isa 58:10).
Sisters and brothers, as the light of Christ dispels the darkness of the tomb this Easter, I pray that the light of your faith too shall disperse the darkness of despair in Singapore.
Yours in Christ,
Most Rev. William Goh
Archbishop of Singapore