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    » 02/19/2015, 00.00


    Singapore archbishop calls for Friday fasting and prayer to boost the New Evangelisation

    Mgr Goh stressed the example of Jesus, who "prepared his ministry" by going into the wilderness to fast. The latter is needed to beat "a hostile secularism" and the attack on the "universal values" of "truth and love." Abstinence from food is not a ritual unless it is accompanied by "mercy and charity."

    Singapore (AsiaNews) - "I would like to invite you to fast with me, for the success of the New Evangelisation in Singapore. For prayer to be effective, it must be accompanied by fasting. We learn this from Jesus, our model in evangelisation, by looking at how he prepared his ministry, going into the wilderness where he fasted for 40 days," said Mgr William Goh, archbishop of Singapore, in his pastoral letter for Lent in which he called on the members of his diocese to fast each Friday with water and bread to promote the New Evangelisation.

    For the prelate, this is the only way to defeat "hostile secularism", which is against religion, and resist the development of "individualistic, materialistic and relativistic society." the latter undermine the foundations of society, striking at the heart of "the universal values ​​of human rights, based on truth and love."

    By urging people to undertake the Lenten fast, Archbishop Goh noted that "devout and fervent" prayer, both individually and in group, is "the key to the New Evangelisation" which is why it is "absolutely necessary".

    At the same time, prayer and fasting "remove obstacles to the mission" and are of great benefit "for the soul and body" because "they keep us disciplined" and help us to resist "the temptations of the flesh."

    For Mgr Goh, prayers and abstinence from food should not only be seen as "a ritual act" or a deed for ulterior motives. "God is not interested in a fasting ritual that bears no fruit and is not a source of charity for one's neighbours". Fasting "does not give any result if it is not watered by mercy and charity."

    Through fasting "we should open our hearts to God and move towards continuous conversion". This is even more important if we consider that fasting "cleanses us from sins, in particular those that result in death from pride, arrogance, jealousy, anger and lust."

    He urged the faithful to "fast together," because "we are weak" and "can fall victim to the temptations arising from carelessness, self-indulgence and sins." By contrast, unity is a source of "encouragement and mutual support."

    For Friday fasting, Singapore's archbishop said people should use lunch and dinner breaks to engage in "individual prayer and Eucharistic adoration", participate in "Eucharistic celebrations", or even "pray together in the office or at home in order to "share the Good News. "Overcoming physical hunger will be much easier if it is accompanied by the Christian communion of love and group reading of the word of God".

    More than 200,000 Catholics, or about 5 per cent of the total population, call Singapore home.

    Buddhism is the city-state's dominant religion with 43 per cent of the population, followed by Christianity (18 per cent), Islam (15 per cent), Hinduism (11 per cent) and Taoism (5 per cent).  

    At present, the local church is going through a phase of growth and dynamism, which has led to the recent opening of a theological seminary, a real "milestone" for the local community.

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    See also

    25/02/2014 SINGAPORE
    Archbishop of Singapore: Praying at work, a sign of Christian witness
    Archbishop William Goh invites the faithful to pray the Liturgy of the Hours (even) in the office and at school. Prayer is the way to "encounter" God and proclaim "the joy of the Gospel." The prelate proposes meeting weekly for Bible study and an annual retreat for five days.

    22/03/2016 19:19:00 SINGAPORE
    Easter in Singapore: festivity for many new Catholics and a commitment to do better and better

    The city-state is still one of the most fertile grounds for the Christian faith in the whole of Southeast Asia. More than 1,100 catechumens will be baptised at Easter. “This means an increase of 17 per cent over last year,” said Mgr William Goh Chye Seng. However, the goal is “Not to reach a number, but to spread the Gospel’s message of love and mercy."

    29/11/2014 SINGAPORE
    For archbishop of Singapore, Advent is a special time "to pray and contemplate with Mary"
    In a pastoral letter, Mgr William Goh says that 'Bearers of the Good News' is the theme of Advent. The prelate calls on the faithful "to follow" the Virgin's example and proclaim the Gospel among the people. He also calls for action to take care of those who suffer and are without hope.

    09/08/2016 14:51:00 SINGAPORE
    Archbishop of Singapore calls for independence celebrations, but mercy makes a nation great

    On the 51st anniversary of the city-state’s birth, Mgr William Goh tells the nation to show charity to others. Technological and economic progress are not enough, “compassion and understanding” are needed for success. From one’s neighbour to young people and poor Asian nations, “The truth of the Good News of God’s love must be proclaimed without compromise.”

    02/04/2015 SINGAPORE
    Archbishop of Singapore: at Easter the Risen Christ defeats relativism and gives eternal life
    In his message to the faithful, Mgr Goh says that Jesus conquers “death". Love, not hate, is "the last word", and his "resurrection is our victory over sin and eternal death.” The prelate calls on believers to "live as free men and women in Christ" in a world "that is on the brink of despair” and is a slave to "relativism" that empties hearts.

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