Agape Village “is to be a village of love ... a love without borders, without conditions, without condescension, and without expectation of rewards”, said Archbishop Goh at the official opening of the four-storey Caritas Singapore building.
“My dream is that Agape Village will be a household name in Singapore one day, and that all will know that there is one village … where you can find a love that is genuine, sincere and true.”
Archbishop Goh was one of several speakers at the Nov 21 event, which saw the blessing of the building at Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, and the unveiling of the building’s plaque.
Agape Village is an initiative of Caritas Singapore, the social mission arm of the Catholic Church.
Thirteen of the 24 Caritas affiliate charities are housed here.
The building has 12 gardens and facilities including counselling and therapy rooms, caregiver support and training facilities, a dance studio, multi-purpose halls and rooms for Masses, retreats, meetings and training.
In his address to the estimated 500 people attending the ceremony, Archbishop Goh also asked that social workers and caregivers “exercise great patience, compassion, understanding and sensitivity in serving their clients.
“May they in the process of helping the poor, find the face of God in them and experience the joy of meeting Jesus in them,” he said.
Ms Janet Ang, chairperson of Caritas Singapore, told the crowd, “Today, we are starting a new chapter of Agape Village, and I am counting on your continued engagement and support.”
In her welcome address, she said that the Agape Village community, practising Catholic social teaching, “will provide holistic and integrated care to the poor, marginalised and those limited by their circumstances”.
Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development, was the guest-of-honour.
In his speech, he said the integration of different social services in Agape Village was a “significant step forward” in addressing issues faced by society, noting that the “co-location” of various organisations would prove beneficial to both ministries and beneficiaries.
“Nothing beats the face-to-face contact of having lunch or coffee together and building up trust and mutual respect. This step goes a very long way in deepening that collaboration between organisations and thereby enhancing our effectiveness in our service to the people,” said Mr Tan.
A video showing how Caritas affiliates aid the needy was shown during the event.
Msgr Ambrose Vaz then blessed the crucifixes that were to be placed in the rooms of Agape Village. Priests who attended the event blessed the different parts of the building.
Those present were also entertained by members of the different Caritas affiliates who performed the Agape Village theme song, as well as performances by Boys’ Town Singapore and Young at Heart (YAH!), a group serving the elderly under MontfortCare.
Mr Tan Chuan-Jin and Archbishop Goh were later given a tour of Agape Village.
Some of the organisations they visited were Abilities Beyond Limitations and Expectations (ABLE); Mamre Oaks, a centre for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities; the Digital Innovation Room where beneficiaries are taught basic computing skills; and the Respite Centre for caregivers.
For more information on Agape Village, visit http://agape-village.caritas-singapore.org/ or contact 6801 7400.
By Jared Ng
|CARITAS AFFILIATES BASED IN AGAPE VILLAGE|
|Caritas Singapore serves as an umbrella organisation to lead and coordinate 24 Catholic Charities, of which 13 are based in Agape Village.