09/29/2014, 00.00
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For Singapore archbishop, Mary is the star that shows the way for the New Evangelisation

Mgr Goh consecrates the archdiocese to Our Lady and inaugurates a year dedicated to Her, starting on 7 October. Looking at the mother of the Church, it is necessary to begin "spiritual renewal", involving priests, religious and laity. "We, too, must imbibe her virtues of faith, hope, charity, poverty and obedience," he said.

Singapore (AsiaNews) - Mary is the "star" that guides the path of the New Evangelisation in a world increasingly characterised by materialism, secularism and relativism. The latter cause the loss of the concepts of the "sacred" and morality, leading to such unbridled consumerism that "Even our Faithful are not spared," said Mgr William Goh Seng Chye, archbishop of Singapore.

In a long pastoral letter, the prelate entrusts the task of bearing witness and proclaiming the Gospel to the protection of the Mother of the Church.

In order to meet and overcome the challenges posed by modernity, the New Evangelisation has become increasingly urgent through a two-pronged approach: renewing the Church from within and looking at the world through more evangelical and missionary eyes, using all available means.

Mgr Goh stresses the guidelines on the mission found in the Instrumentum Laboris of the Synod of Bishops, which rests on the notion that "The Christian faith is a true encounter and relationship with Jesus Christ.

At the same time, "I have [. . .] shared with priests, religious and lay leaders, my ten-year plan for the renewal of the Archdiocese through the building of a vibrant, evangelistic and missionary Church."

This calls for new offices like the Office for the New Evangelisation, Catholic Theological Institute, Office for Young People, Family Life Commission, a restructured Archdiocesan Commission for Migrants and Itinerants, and Archdiocesan Commission for Catholic Schools.

For the archbishop, the urgency of the "spiritual renewal" within the Church concerns "priests, religious and lay leaders" who must go through a "conversion of life" and a "strengthening of our faith." This can only come from "Mary, Mother of the Church", which means that the faithful must "make a place for Mary in our home, communities and churches.

"We, too, must imbibe her virtues of faith, hope, charity, poverty and obedience," Mgr Goh added. "From Mary, we also learn that the New Evangelisation is urgent."

As the Virgin Mary shows us, the archbishop of Singapore notes, the New Evangelisation is first and foremost "a witness of love," visible on many occasions in her life like when, at the foot of the cross, she forgave her son's killers.

To this must be added the contemplative character of the mother of Jesus, as the Gospels stress on several occasions.

Finally, let us "learn the spirit of poverty and the primacy of grace" from Her, he said, for She teaches us not to rely "on our own strength but on God's".

"Let us thus begin this work for the New Evangelisation by consecrating the whole Archdiocese of Singapore to Mary, Star of the New Evangelisation," said Mgr Goh in concluding his letter.

This can begin "on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary this year, on 7th October 2014, [. . .] ending next year on 7th October 2015."

Every parish, movement and organisation is invited to "consecrate the local Church and all activities" to Our Lady, for "we are all co-responsible for the renewal of the Church and society."

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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