Ms Janet Ang of Caritas Singapore speaking on social problems in society during the Islands of Mercy – In a Sea of Indifference event.

Young adults who attended a social awareness programme organised by Caritas Singapore said the event opened their eyes to the efforts made by the Church to help those in need.

“I am inspired to devote more of my time to giving back to the community,” said Ms Prashanthi Cooray from the Church of St Mary of the Angels.

Mr Gregory He from the Church of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary said the “sharing and testimonies of the volunteers” from various Catholic charities impacted him “the most”.

More than 60 Catholics aged between 19 and 35 attended the Caritas Singapore Young Adults’ awareness event on Sept 5.

The biennial event, held at the Agape Village in Toa Payoh, had the theme: Islands of Mercy – In a Sea of Indifference. Organisers said the theme was inspired by Pope Francis’ urging of Catholics to combat what he called a “globalisation of indifference” by practising acts of charity and becoming “islands of mercy” for those in need.

During the event, Caritas Singapore chairperson Janet Ang highlighted the various social problems in society and challenged participants to assist those in need. Jesuit Fr Christopher Soh also led participants in reflecting on how they can nurture the virtue of mercy in themselves.

Later, participants were divided into smaller groups to visit various Catholic charities or listen to some charities who made presentations in Agape Village itself.

The organisations that participants visited were Assisi Hospice; Boys’ Town; Canossaville Children’s Home; Caritas Humanitarian Aid and Relief Initiatives, Singapore (CHARIS); Clarity Singapore; Family Life Society; Montfort Care; Morning Star Community Services and Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP).

Organisations that gave presentations in Agape Village were Catholic Aids Response Effort (CARE), Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ACMI), acts29 and Jesuit Refugee Service.

Participants later shared their experiences of the visits. Many said they were inspired by the organisations’ work and programmes and how staff and volunteers served their beneficiaries, respecting their dignity and caring for them as children of God.

Those wishing to do volunteer work with the Caritas Young Adults are invited to attend an introductory briefing at the Catholic Centre, 55 Waterloo Street, second level, on Oct 1 at 7.30 p.m. For more information, email [email protected]