Pews of the Church of St Ignatius were packed by 8 pm on June 27, as priests, Religious and lay Catholics gathered together to celebrate the annual World Day of Sanctification of Priests and the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Apostolic nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli was also at the Mass.
During his homily, Archbishop William Goh said that when the going gets tough; the key to ministry is to constantly strive for holiness.
With reference from Matthew’s Gospel, Archbishop Goh stressed that the main reason why those in ministry are ‘burnt out’ was because they fall into the trap of wanting to work for Jesus instead of working with him.
Reiterating the words of St John Paul II, Archbishop William Goh said, “Don’t run into the risk of doing for the sake of doing. Being must come before doing.”
Archbishop Goh then went on to stress the importance of leading a prayerful life.
“We cannot be fruitful in ministry without prayer. I don’t just say this for priests but for all you laypeople,” said Archbishop Goh.
He then stressed the need for Catholics to contemplate on the love of God in Jesus Christ, before posing thought-provoking questions directly to priests.
“How do we contemplate on God’s work for us? How do we know that God loves us? Do we cherish this great gift from God?”
Archbishop Goh said that it was from the strength of the Lord that he and other priests have been able to transform and touch lives.
Letting priests in on his little secret, “Everyday, excluding the liturgy hours, spend one hour before the Lord, basking yourself in the love of Christ, and you will be a happy priest, a joyful priest” he said.
Ending off, Archbishop Goh exclaimed, “I am still smiling. Praise the Lord!”
Vicar general Msgr Philip Heng and organiser of the Mass said the Mass served to “build a partnership between dioceses, priests and Religious in Singapore”.
Priests and Religious CatholicNews spoke to said they found the Mass timely and enriching.
“It’s always very encouraging to see that being in the priesthood is appreciated by the archbishop, by the people of God and by fellow priests,” said Jesuit Fr Colin Tan.
“This is a reminder that we need constantly because various things tend to pull us aside for a while. We needed this reminder and I am grateful for it,” said Infant Jesus Sr Deirdre O’Loan.
“We are living in a time where priests are highly criticised and we have a bishop who is very prayerful. He has passed on a message to priests to have more time for holiness, have a little more time for God. This also comes with Religious support,” said Gabrielite Br Emmanuel.
By Lorna O’Hara