“The lack of awareness of one’s sinfulness prevents one from experiencing the mercy of God,” said Archbishop William Goh. “If we are not aware, then spiritual renewal is impossible,” he said at the Pentecost Rally.
“Forgiveness of sins is ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit,” he added.
The rally was held at the Church of St Vincent de Paul on May 24.
“Ninety-five to ninety-eight percent of Catholics who come to church receive communion every Sunday but the number of confessions are very few. So do Catholics really know the mercy of God?” he asked.
The archbishop also warned the crowd in the packed church that “numbers can make us complacent”.
Out of the 350,000 Catholics in Singapore, “more than one-third are migrants”, he noted, estimating that there were less than 1,000 baptisms in the local Church this year.
Thus, for evangelisation to take place, Archbishop Goh said that every Catholic must experience a “moral, personal and spiritual renewal”.
For spiritual renewal, Archbishop Goh said, “You must know your scripture well”.
Don’t be like the people in the tower of Babel, he warned. They felt that “man can do anything and everything without God”.
He added that those who are in Church ministries must be willing to set aside their differences and put others before themselves. This is because, “the failure to agree on anything,” can lead to bitterness and “a lot of misunderstandings,” he said.
“If you are bearing grudges, then you cannot serve in the ministry. This is why the world is getting more and more divided,” he said.
To experience God’s love, the archbishop said that Catholics must be remorseful when they make mistakes.
“We are not asking you to have a guilt complex. Remorse on the other hand, is because you have done something wrong.
Remorse means compassion. Compassion leads to liberation. So when the person is remorseful, then conversion can last.”
“Renewal programmes help people to experience the Gospel. Let us ask the Lord for a renewal, that we will truly be renewed in our spiritual life,” he concluded.
Other highlights of the rally included prayers for baptism of the Holy Spirit led by Carmelite Fr Thomas Curran. People were seen resting in the Spirit. There was also praise and worship by the Burning Bush Charismatic community from St Anne’s Church, and sharings by four Catholics.
One such testimony came from Ms Sharon Chua from the Church of St Ignatius. She said that she used to be busy chasing after money and felt that “I was my own God.”
However, while attending a conversion retreat last year, she was suddenly drawn to the adoration room where she had a spiritual experience.
Since then, “the Lord changed my character. I am now more patient, more trusting, loving and caring,” she said.
After the rally, the archbishop, along with several priests, including Fr Curran and parish priest, Fr Michael Sitaram, celebrated Mass.
In his homily, Archbishop Goh reiterated his points during his talk. He added that “the Spirit is the one who leads us to the fullness of truth. The truth is a person and it is Jesus. To encounter Jesus is to encounter the truth.”
“We need a community that supports our spiritual life and growth. That kind of community empowers the Spirit,” he said.
“We are called to be missionary disciples.”
By Lorna O’Hara