“Every soul possesses two great inclinations. One is to do what is good and the other is an inclination towards God,” said Redemptorist Fr Patrick Massang at a Mass marking the World Day for Consecrated Life.
“When we don’t address these inclinations we can’t live life to the fullest,” said the president of the Conference of Religious Major Superiors Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei at the Feb 1 event.
Speaking to the crowd gathered at the Church of St Teresa, which included Religious priests, nuns and Brothers, Fr Massang said that Religious people struggle and commit themselves every day to fulfil their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for the greater good.
He encouraged them in their commitment, adding that “God has promised the great reward of salvation”.
Archbishop Nicholas Chia presided at the celebration in which apostolic nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli and Coadjutor Archbishop-elect William Goh were present.
The Mass also saw the Religious lighting candles and renewing their vows.
According to Franciscan Fr John-Paul Tan, such a celebration raises awareness of Religious and consecrated life in the Church.
He noted that these are aspects of the Church that are not appreciated by bishops in some dioceses.
“There have been a perceived sense that the Religious life will take away vocations from the diocesan priesthood or that it does not contribute to the life of the local Church,” he said.
“I think that the presence and support of our archbishop, the apostolic nuncio and coadjutor archbishop-elect is a clear sign of their support of Religious life” and its contributions in areas such as education, healthcare, and service to the poor and marginalised, Fr Tan added.
Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Sr Mary Chua said the celebration is “a good time to remind ourselves of our calling and to renew our vows and bring a sense of unity among various Religious orders”.
The event is “good as we come together as brothers and sisters from different Religious orders”, said Carmelite Sr Linda of the Assumption.
The World Day for Consecrated Life falls on Feb 2 every year. However, the celebration was held a day earlier this year due to logistical reasons, said Sr Angeline Lim, from the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood, who was with the Mass organising committee.
There are 10 female and 12 male Religious congregations in Singapore.
By Martin See