Awesome, and a great experience of unity.
This was what many felt about the full-day Pentecost Rally held at Holy Innocents’ High School on May 15.
“People here are united, with the same objective of responding to God’s call,” said Mr Chen Fabang, 45, a Chinese national.
It was his first time attending such a rally and found it “awesome”, he told CatholicNews after the event.
Ms Michelle Voo, 52, from the Church of St Vincent de Paul felt that the rally “united ... people of different ages, different races, different cultures”, just as the Holy Spirit did at the first Pentecost.
The rally saw the KKIHS Indonesian Charismatic community and the El Shaddai group leading praise-and-worship in English, Bahasa Indonesia and Tagalog. They also got the 1,000-strong crowd on its feet and dancing to lively, inspirational songs.
Redemptorist Fr Simon Pereira, in his talk, Go With Power, said that the Church experienced power during the first Pentecost and people spoke in different tongues.
Commenting on the participation of local and foreign Catholics at the rally, he said, “Thank God for all the different nationalities as they contribute to the flourishing red dot … They add to the vibrancy of the Church in Singapore!”
Fr Simon stressed the power of the Eucharist and the rosary in his talk and invited families to come forward for a time of healing.
Many in the crowd were moved to tears as family members asked forgiveness from one another for having offended each other in various ways.
Fr Simon also invited teenagers to come up and asked them to pray for healing in their lives.
A time of ministry followed as prayer teams prayed over individuals for spiritual empowerment. Many rested in the Spirit.
In his homily during Mass, Archbishop William Goh stressed that all Christians “have the mission to spread the good news to all of creation. This is not an option, it’s an obligation.”
He noted that he had written a letter to Catholics for Pentecost stressing the importance of standing up for their faith and claiming their spiritual identity.
He emphasised the need for ongoing formation for Catholics as well as a stronger sense of community, and noted that only eight to 10 percent of Catholics are active in the churches.
“If we are not growing in the faith, it is because we do not live the life of the Spirit,” he said.
The rally also saw Fr Thomas Curran, spiritual director of SACCRE (Singapore Archdiocesan Catholic Charismatic Renewal), give a history of the development of the Charismatic renewal.
SACCRE chairman Gerard Francisco explained the role of SACCRE, the organiser of the yearly Pentecost rallies. He said that SACCRE is a service body which provides training in various ministries for prayer groups, such as in healing, leadership and outreach.
Young participants CatholicNews spoke to said they were moved by their experience of the rally.
“I felt a lot of peace,” said 18-year-old Clarissa Sim. “I really felt God’s presence today.”
Sim, a member of Faith Sycas, a youth Charismatic group at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, said she found it “very touching” to see strangers praying for one another.
Jonathan Tham, also from Faith Sycas, said he felt that God “touched me with His immense love today”.
By Christopher Khoo