09/11/2013, 00.00
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Singapore celebrates the Year of Faith with a new website, meetings and catechesis

A parish in central Singapore has set up a website to promote its initiatives; it contains materials like Benedict XVI's apostolic letter Porta Fidei. A priest stresses the importance of sharing the faith and working for pastoral renewal. A quiz on the Church and the sacraments to the faithful has led to "interesting and encouraging" results.

Singapore (AsiaNews) - With a special website and numerous live events, the Risen Christ Parish in central Singapore has called on the Catholic community to pay more attention to the Year of Faith launched by Benedict XVI last October, centring its action on catechesis and the spiritual growth of the faithful through the study of Word of God.

For Fr John Sim, head of the Committee for the Year of Faith, it is "important" to share the faith and "not take it for granted."

Indeed, following Pope Benedict XVI'S announcement, the parish responded immediately, he said, setting up a committee to "brainstorm and propose" various activities with the aim of helping the faithful to rethink the role of faith in their lives, taking into account the different ages and the respective cultural background of its members.

The 8,000-strong congregation has people from different nationalities, including Malaysians, Chinese, Filipinos, Koreans and Indians. In addition to the English language, Mandarin Chinese, Tamil, and Tagalog are spoken in the parish.

For the Year of Faith, a group of people created a website that contains materials like Benedict XVI's apostolic letter Porta Fidei, as well as information about the Year of Faith, the catechism, and other resources.

"We also have 40 strong lay apostolate groups," Fr Sim said, "and it is our responsibility to train them."

In order to strengthen parishioners' faith, Risen Christ established the "Parish Renewal Experience", which will become a permanent programme, the clergyman said.

The parish also hosted quiz gatherings on the faith, which Fr Sim described as "encouraging, interesting and successful."

Ahead of October, the month dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Risen Christ Parish is working on an exhibit on Marian devotion and her role in the divine plan of salvation.

This is an important point of reference and a significant event for Singapore's 200,000 Catholics who represent 5 per cent of the city-state's population (Buddhism represents another 43 ​ per cent, Christianity 18 per cent, and Islam, Hinduism and Taoism 15, 11 and 5 per cent respectively).

Smaller than New York and without natural resources, the city-state's GDP reached S$ 285 billion (US$ 231 billion) in 2010, up by 14.5 per cent, the highest in Asia.

However, the country's wealth is not equitably distributed and its economic boom has accentuated disparities among its citizens with its Gini coefficient now standing at 0.48, up from 0.44 in 2000.

This measure of inequality ranges from 0 to 1 where 0 represents its lowest point and 1 its highest.


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