Dear Muslim brothers and sisters,
I would like to extend my warmest wishes of our Catholic community to you all as your holy month of Ramadan draws to a close. The spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving which we share with you as Catholics, is a great delight for all of us.
These spiritual exercises that we practise certainly deepen our love for God and strengthen our prayer life. Most of all, it expresses itself in works of charity, especially towards our less fortunate brothers and sisters of God. We are always edified by your hospitality towards your neighbours and love for the poor and forgiveness of your enemies, who are no less our fellowmen.
This year, our Catholic Church marks the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of the landmark Second Vatican Council document, Nostra Aetate on interreligious relations. We are reminded that we are really “one” in God; “One is the community of all peoples, one their origin, for God made the whole human race to live over the face of the earth. One also is their final goal, God.” (NA 1).
As Singapore commemorates the significant milestone of 50 years of nation building, let us renew our commitment to continually work towards becoming a greater “one”. Let us be united in our humanity and build even stronger bonds of peace and harmony amongst all the different races and religions of our beloved country.
We have come thus far because of great respect and friendships among Christian and Muslim leaders. There are regular interactions and healthy dialogue amongst our leaders whenever issues of importance surface.
We are edified by your Muslim leaders in actively engaging Catholics and other religions to build greater mutual understanding and respect through dialogue, formation and fellowship.
We can foster even greater respect, love and concern for one another in our daily living as people of God and faith believers. Let us also continue to take active steps in developing a deeper understanding and appreciation of each of our faiths. This is so that any existing misconceptions and prejudices may be cleared to pave the way for more robust relations against a climate of distrust and religious hostility in the wider world.
As love of God and neighbour are at the heart of both Christianity and Islam, I am confident that we can look forward towards even greater solidarity among us in the years to come.
On behalf of the Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore, I sincerely wish all of you and your families a very joyful and holy Hari Raya Aidilfitri!
Most Rev William Goh
Archbishop of Singapore
Msgr Philip, S.J.
Vicar-General (Interreligious Relations)