09/28/2015, 00.00
SINGAPORE
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May Mary, Star of the New Evangelisation, guides us in the New Evangelisation, says Singapore archbishop

As the year dedicated to the Virgin Mary comes to end, Mgr Goh invites the faithful to "continue with renewed passion" the mission of proclaiming the Gospel. In an era of extremes – secularism vs religious fundamentalism – we have to "convert" to the mission. Prayers provide the strength to continue the journey.

Singapore (AsiaNews) – Mgr William Goh Seng Chye, Archbishop of Singapore, released a pastoral letter today in which he calls for “a renewal of faith among all Catholics” to “stand together as a people of communion in mission to proclaim like Mary”.

The year dedicated to Mary is ending. Singapore Catholics had dedicated this period to the Star of the New Evangelisation in a world of materialism, secularism and relativism. For this reason, Mgr Goh decided to issue a call to the faithful to “reflect on where we are at in our efforts" and “how we are to move ahead ".

For the prelate, "we are living in tumultuous times of extremes. The pendulum has swung from secularisation, individualism and atheism on the one hand, to religious fundamentalism fuelling war and refugee exodus on the other.”

This ultimately calls for “a renewal of faith among all Catholics – clergy and laity alike,” for “We cannot be missionary unless we ourselves are first ‘converted’.”

The Christian presence is crucial in many sectors, like culture, economics, politics, ecology, media, education, science and technology. Hence, the New Evangelisation must be “the thrust of the Universal Catholic Church and not just a personal vision.”

However, “In proposing my 10-year plan for the archdiocese, I have met with some resistance and opposition; and to say the least, indifference and reluctance.”

Some “Priests and laity are sceptical as to whether it could be possible to renew our Catholics and bring about a truly vibrant, evangelical and missionary Church. Some simply ignore the call, others go about doing their own thing; and many are oblivious to what the Church (Universal and local) are asking of our Catholics.”

Yet, on we must go, and “the New Evangelisation demands that we acquire the same Spirit that empowered Jesus in His ministry.” At the same time, if we believe in the primacy "of grace and not on our efforts, then prayer is the sign that tells us that we know that only God can bring about success in our ministry”.

The consecration of the New Evangelisation to the Virgin means that "every Catholic is called to imitate Mary and be docile to the Holy Spirit,” noted the archbishop. This entails “cooperating with the grace of God through prayer and fasting." Indeed, the end of the year does not mean the end of our work for the latter "is rooted in our minds and in our hearts."

Singapore’s Catholics number more than 200,000, or about 5 per cent of the total population. Overall, Buddhism has the largest following with 33 per cent, followed by Christianity with 18 per cent, Islam with 15 per cent, and Taoism and Hinduism with 11 and 5 per cent respectively.

The local church is going through a phase of growth and dynamism illustrated by the opening of a theological seminary, a real "milestone" for the local community.

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