Left: Beneficiaries bringing up offertory gifts during the Mass at the Church of St Ignatius. Right: Archbishop William Goh giving communion to an SSVP beneficiary.

The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) held its annual Mass for their Friends-in-Need (FINs) at the Church of St Ignatius on April 23.

The Mass drew the biggest ever turnout of 860 attendees, 500 of whom were made up of the society’s adopted FINs, many of them non-Catholics.

Archbishop William Goh celebrated the Mass.

In his homily, he spoke about humanity’s unending quest for joy and meaning in life and how ultimately it is Jesus who satisfies and is the greatest gift that one can offer in the mission of the Church.

Archbishop Goh went on to say that Vincentians are also called to this mission, by revealing the face of God to their FINs and by seeing Jesus in the faces of those they serve.

But he warned about the inherent difficulties facing those who seek to build God’s kingdom.

“Service should bring great joy, but it is not always so. Sometimes our service is not welcomed. Often we are misunderstood. There are disagreements and conflicts.”

In order not to be discouraged by such responses, it is important for Vincentians to have a deep and intimate relationship with God, said Archbishop Goh.

“Don’t think you can save the world unless Jesus works in and through us,” he added.

Already into its fifth year, the annual Mass is the only event that brings together the entire Vincentian community and their FINs from all over Singapore.

At the reception after Mass, CatholicNews asked a few FINs what the special Mass meant to them.

Some said they felt very peaceful to be among a praying community. Others said they were very attracted by the beautiful prayers and ceremony.

A family of six from the SSVP at the Church of Sts Peter & Paul was so touched by the Mass from the previous year that they asked to become Catholics, attended RCIA and were baptised this Easter.

Santhya, an 18-year-old from the SSVP group at the Church of Christ the King added that she loved being among Vincentians as she found them welcoming and very nice.

Nonnie, from the SSVP group at the Church of St Stephen, said she was “very happy” to be served by the Vincentians “for many years”.

For more information about SSVP and how to volunteer, visit www.ssvpsingapore.org or their Facebook page.