Encounter God in personal lives before evangelising, archbishop says
The retreat was held from Aug 28-30, and the participants were from 40 different ministries in the parish.
The objective of this retreat was to give ministry members a more profound experience of God, and to build a more personal relationship with Jesus.
It was also to better equip them in undertaking the task of the New Evangelisation in their own ministries, parish and beyond.
Archbishop Goh delivered a total of nine talks during the retreat, it was followed by small group sharings as well as questions to guide the reflection.
Among the many issues which currently face the Church, he mentioned for instance the crisis, facing many of our Catholic families today, the lack of a holistic and truly religious upbringing of our youth (largely due to the over-emphasis on academic achievements).
Other issues included the increasing number of single parent families and the rise of the divorce rates amongst Catholics, same-sex attraction and the increasing secularisation of society with its sometimes harmful impact on the Catholic faith, the needs of the migrants and the Church’s often inadequate ways to respond to them.
He said the Church, if it does not want to become totally irrelevant, must try to respond to all these issues in a much better way and this cannot be done by merely increasing the number of superficial programmes and activities.
Ultimately such a response must be rooted in a deep and joyful faith in Jesus Christ, he said.
The core of Archbishop Goh’s message was that before Catholics can do the work of evangelisation, they have to be evangelised themselves. Once they have encountered the Lord personally and have experienced the great joy of His love, they are ready to share His message with others.
He also said that a true personal encounter cannot be sustained without a constant attempt to grow in holiness by prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Going to confession regularly, at least once a month and making a yearly retreat are equally effective means in the process of our sanctification.
Commenting on the retreat, Ms Stella Lee, a participant, shared: “This retreat was enriching, inspiring and uplifting. I gained much knowledge and practical skills from the nine talks of our bishop.
“On the spiritual side, I recognised the need to redefine my prayer life to be Christ-centered. This will strengthen my faith, deepen my trust and increase my love for Him. Then I can reach out to the disadvantaged, marginalised, sick and elderly in the parish and community at large,” Ms Lee said.
Mr Paul Tan, chairman of the organising committee, concluded by saying “It was truly edifying and such a joy to see so many people from different ministries coming together to serve, to share or simply to fellowship as one, united community.
“The combined choir, El Shaddai, the group sharings and the organising committee showed that there can be so much love and joy if we all come together for a common purpose, to love and serve the Lord.”
By Patricia Ang