Archbishop William Goh speaking during the Mass to close the Year of Mary, Star of the New Evangelisation. Other Mass celebrants included (from left) Fr Timothy Yeo, apostolic nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, Msgr Ambrose Vaz and Fr Ignatius Yeo.Archbishop William Goh speaking during the Mass to close the Year of Mary, Star of the New Evangelisation. Other Mass celebrants included (from left) Fr Timothy Yeo, apostolic nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, Msgr Ambrose Vaz and Fr Ignatius Yeo.

Catholics cannot proclaim Christ to the world unless they themselves are converted to the Lord, said Archbishop William Goh.

“We must begin with inner conversion,” said the archbishop to about 600 people gathered at the Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace on Oct 7.

Archbishop Goh, apostolic nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, and about 20 priests were celebrating a Mass to close the Year of Mary, Star of the New Evangelisation.

In his homily, Archbishop Goh said the heart of the New Evangelisation “is dependent on whether our Catholics are renewed in the faith”.

 “Good plans alone cannot bring about a conversion of hearts,” he said. “If we want to change the diocese, change our people, the heart of change must be prayer.”

He acknowledged that the temptation to believe that programmes and hard work would bring about faith renewal among people was a real one. But “that is not true,” he said. “It is the work of grace.”

“When I speak of the primacy of grace, it is principally really interceding and praying,” he said.

“A person that does not pray...you are simply telling me that you don’t believe in the primacy of grace. Without prayers, without the sacraments, let us not talk about evangelisation.”

Archbishop Goh noted that Mary and the apostles went to the upper room after Jesus’ ascension.

“They did nothing else except to pray, to intercede,” he said. “And Jesus told them not to go out until they received the Holy Spirit. They prayed first before they started work.”

He said that as an archbishop and priest, the most important time of the day for him is prayer time.

“Without prayer, I will not be able to focus myself,” he said.

Archbishop Goh launched the special Marian year on Oct 7, 2014, to consecrate the work of the New Evangelisation in the archdiocese to Our Lady.

Over the past year, the special Marian icon has been brought to 27 parishes and one Catholic school as a visible reminder of the call to the New Evangelisation.

The Office for the New Evangelisation told CatholicNews that it prepared various materials to help parishes celebrate the presence of the icon. These are prayers and reflections before the icon, prayer cards, a write-up on the meaning of the icon, and liturgies for receiving and sending off the icon.

Parishes also came up with their own ways of honouring Mary during the hosting of the icon, such as  holding rosary sessions and prayer walks.

By Jared Ng
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