SINGAPORE – The Singapore Pastoral Institute (SPI) marked its 30th anniversary on Friday Sep 19 with Mass at Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is beside the Catholic Archdiocesan Education Centre where SPI is located, and dinner in the church hall.

In his homily, Archbishop Nicholas Chia said that "pastoral" means reaching out like shepherds and that each of us is a pastor called in this mission.

He stressed that it is not sufficient just to provide courses to keep the laity informed, important as that is, but to help them see how they can use the knowledge for the good of the church.

Archbishop Chia told the congregation that he was particularly impressed by Msgr Eugene Vaz and Father Ambrose Vaz’s contributions.

The Vaz brothers hold Bible courses at SPI and they are generally very well-attended. The biblical arm of SPI aims to foster a deeper love for God’s word and supports parishes to organize Bible apostolate teams to nurture this love among parishioners.

The mission of the other two arms – Pastoral and Catechetical – aim to conscientize people to claim their baptismal responsibility by using their gifts and forming themselves to put on "the mind of Christ".

"SPI has a long way to go but we can’t just rely on those directly supporting it, but on all of us," said Archbishop Chia. "Generally, many good laity think the church depends on priests and religious while they themselves remain in the background. This should not be. We’re all part of the church.

"We all know there’s much to be done. Each of us is gifted in a different way. Let us be grateful to God for the blessings he’s showered upon us and be really aware of these blessings and make good use of our time, talents, resources," he added. - Joyce Gan

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