11/29/2014, 00.00
SINGAPORE
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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.

Singapore (AsiaNews) - Adventus is "a special time for us to pray and contemplate with Mary, as we prepare for Jesus to be born into our hearts," said Mgr William Goh Seng Chye, archbishop of Singapore, in a pastoral letter written in preparation of Christmas.

"Appropriately, the theme for this year is 'Bearers of the Good News'," which is part of the activities associated with the New Evangelisation, under the protection of Our Lady who alone can lead us "to Christ, the Light of the World."

"After pondering what the Angel Gabriel had told her, she hurried to Elizabeth to proclaim the Good News of the coming of the Messiah," the prelate writes. "We, too, are to follow Mary's example and hurry to those in society today who need the Good News - those who are losing hope, feeling unloved or experiencing low self-esteem."

"For when love is no longer experienced to be sincere, true or everlasting, many turn to material things, gambling, substance abuse and other forms of addiction to fill the void." Thus, "as chosen disciples of Christ, we are called today to give hope to a world that is on the edge of despair."

Mgr Goh's letter goes on to say that Christ "is the Way, the Truth and the Life and is the answer to all the riddles and sufferings in this life". Indeed, "As Christians baptised into the Body of Christ, we are entrusted with continuing the mission of Christ, in seeking and caring for the wounded."

In view of this, "Like Mary, we need to hurry to them, to encounter and love them and hence to be the Good News to them". But at the same time, like the Virgin, "we need to make time for quiet prayer and meditation, in preparation to receive the Lord well".

"The discipline of prayer is important," Archbishop Goh notes, "for without prayer, we cannot grow in holiness." And "Prayer, to be efficacious, must be strengthened by works of charity, penance, fasting and mortification."

Currently, 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" in the history of the local community. 

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