A Japanese Catholic community member presents gifts at the offertory during the World Mission Sunday Mass. Beside Archbishop Chia is Fr Kenson Koh, chairman of the Archdiocesan Commission for Missionary Activity.

“Through their baptism, all believers are called to take part in the new evangelisation: families, young people who are generally the most open to being missionaries, and also parishes, the movements, and new communities.”

In an Oct 23 Mass commemorating World Mission Sunday, Archbishop Nicholas Chia echoed these words of Pope Benedict XVI to the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences in their Sept 29-Oct 2 plenary assembly in Albania.

Archbishop Chia told the congregation at the Church of the Holy Spirit that even though they may not be fulltime missionaries, they can still spread the Good News.

“You have the power to spread God’s word through your own actions,” he said. “As the early Christians were excited to teach others what they had learned from Jesus, so too must we teach those around us, not only through our words, but through our actions as well. We must not be afraid or embarrassed to talk about our faith.”

Archbishop Chia also quoted the pope as saying, “Places of catechesis and Catholic schools must also be and become ever more places of evangelisation… There is also the question of seeking new ways to evangelise, such as, for example, new technology, the Internet, and social networking sites.”

During the Mass, Archbishop Chia commissioned about 20 teenagers from the parish’s Confirmation class, who would be embarking on a missionary trip to Bicol, the Philippines, from Dec 8-18. They have been raising funds for the needy and preparing spiritually for the trip.

Celestine Neo, 15, and Vanessa Tay, 16, said they were excited about helping the less fortunate in a foreign country. They said they look forward to buying spectacles for the Filipino children who need them.

Also present at the Mass were participants of the Lay Missionary Formation (LMF) course conducted by the Archdiocesan Commission for Missionary Activity (ACMA).

One of them, Ms Monica Goh, said Archbishop Chia’s words “reinforced my belief in living our faith daily to the fullest … so that we may be blessed and be led by the Holy Spirit to spread Christ’s love to others”.

She said the LMF programme “has provided me with much inspiration to bring Christ to others and the necessary tools, right knowledge and useful resources to embark on any mission journey”.

Members of the international Catholic community also attended the Mass. Representatives from the Japanese community presented gifts during the offertory.

The Mass was organised by ACMA in collaboration with Holy Spirit Church.

By Benedict Tang

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