Archbishop's National Day Message

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Years ago, our forefathers pulled together and worked hard to build this country. As our nation celebrates its 47th birthday, it is an opportune time to reflect how far we have come together as a nation.

We have certainly enjoyed many good years of economic boom and low unemployment. Today we live in a modern city-state, a vibrant City in a Garden where we enjoy the fruits of our labour!

However, there are poor and needy who fall below the radar. While Government schemes and assistance programmes help, there are those who fall through the social safety nets. The poor and needy may not be very visible in our society but they do exist. These individuals and their families depend heavily on donations.

Last year was a record year for charitable giving in Singapore. Tax-deductible donations to local charities hit $896 million, the highest in the 10 years that records have been kept, according to the annual report of the Commissioner of Charities.

Donations to charity and economic growth usually go hand in hand, but the record amount of donations that rolled in last year – when economic growth slowed down – refutes this trend.

With the rising costs of living, this is comforting news indeed! It speaks well of Singaporeans – that we have a generous spirit and empathy for the less fortunate and vulnerable, for as Jesus says, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

It is such a spirit that will hold us together as one people. Not just as citizens of Singapore but part of a larger compassionate and loving community.

As Catholics, the onus is on us to strive daily to be Christ-like, abiding in His love, opening our hearts to the needy and reflecting the Christian virtues of humility, gentleness, charity and love for one another. For by “not neglecting to show hospitality to strangers some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:1)

Together we can achieve much – so let the light of Christ shine forth such that we can work hand-in-hand in peace and harmony towards building a more compassionate, generous and gracious society.

May we continue to uphold our moral values and may our respective faith communities always strive to reaffirm the principal tenets of the Singapore Pledge by promoting religious harmony, justice and peace in our multi-racial and multi-religious nation.

I wish all Singaporeans a Happy and Blessed National Day.

Yours in Christ,

Archbishop Nicholas Chia

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