“Certain congregations could close down if no one is taking over their charisms,” said Archbishop William Goh.
“With the support of the laypeople, our Religious men and women must be role models in every possible example to inspire the young.”
These were the parting words Archbishop Goh had for those gathered for the closing Mass for the Year of Consecrated Life on Feb 2.
About 450 people attended the celebration held at the Church of St Ignatius. Among them were about 300 Religious.
The official launch date for the Year of Consecrated Life was Nov 30, 2014. The Singapore archdiocese celebrated the opening Mass on Nov 29, 2014, at St Joseph’s Church, Victoria Street.
In his homily for the closing Mass, Archbishop Goh told the Religious gathered that “if you want to continue to be the light of the nation, to continue to inspire people, to enjoy the work you are doing and to support your charisms; you need to recover the foundation of consecrated life – “The evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience.”
He noted that the “three evangelical counsels are to remind us that we are totally dependent on the Lord.”
On poverty, Archbishop Goh reminded the congregation the words of Pope Francis: “I want a Church that is poor and for the poor.” Archbishop Goh noted that “Religious need to stay close to the people, to be at the front of the ‘battlefield’, serving and being with the marginalised.”
Moving on to the vow of chastity, he said that in order for Religious to go out to the world to “spread love and mercy”, they have to first love those around them.
“If you think getting married and living with your spouse is hard, imagine the Religious who have to live with their congregation!” Archbishop Goh said jokingly.
Obedience, he said, “simply means to do the will of God, often expressed though our superiors.”
Noting that the Year of Mercy had already begun, Archbishop Goh told those gathered that “all works of mercy ultimately are to bring people to recognise Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.”
“Religious men and women are at the forefront of these acts of mercy, and it is through them that the laity can be inspired,” he said.
By Jared Ng