Photo: VITA Images

Christopher Khoo

The Holy Father prays for the Church in Singapore and wishes to bring to all “a word of hope and encouragement, invoking God’s blessings upon all the citizens”, said the new Apostolic Nuncio to Singapore.

Speaking at a special Mass to welcome him at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd on Aug 6, Archbishop Marek Zalewski said he wished to give to all priests, Religious and faithful here “the cordial greetings and blessing of His Holiness Pope Francis, who has great esteem and affection for the Church in Singapore." 

He noted that this was the first time he was celebrating Mass in the renovated cathedral.

Archbishop Marek also elaborated on his work as papal representative here. The work of the Apostolic Nuncio is always linked with the ministry of the Pope, he told the crowd which included Members of Parliment, members of the diplomatic corps, priests and Religious.

“It is also the special function of a Pontifical Legate to promote and foster relations between the Apostolic See and the authorities of the state, and to deal with questions which pertain to relations between Church and state,” he said.

He added that one way the Pope could be present in a local Church was through the papal representative “who lives in the country and works together with the local Church, government and society”.

Archbishop Marek, Archbishop Goh and guests praying before the start of dinner.

Archbishop William Goh, in his address to the Nuncio, gave an overview of the situation of Church and society in Singapore.

Archbishop Goh shared that there is growing secularism and relativism in Singapore, especially among the young people.

People are adopting values that are opposed to family, marriage and the dignity of life, and there is also a growing gap between rich and poor, he said.

About 10-15 percent of Catholics are active in church, while 35 percent attend church regularly.

He added that one of the strengths of the archdiocese is that Catholics are “very generous” in charitable works. “Many professionals and influential Catholics also render their services to the Church,” he said. The Church also has a good relationship with the government, he added.

A dinner was held for Archbishop Marek and invited guests at the cathedral’s annex building after Mass.

Archbishop Marek arrived in Singapore on July 12. 

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