… says Msgr Philip Heng at closing centennial Mass of Our Lady of Fatima

The statue of Our Lady of Fatima being carried in procession on Oct 13 at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd.

By Jared Ng

There was a strong sense of anticipation among the 2,500-strong crowd gathered for the closing centennial Mass of Our Lady of Fatima on Oct 13.

Some had arrived at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd four hours early for the special celebration and the building was packed about two hours before Mass started.

Some were seen in deep prayer while others knelt before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima near the sanctuary.

Cathedral rector Msgr Philip Heng, in his homily, urged people to “follow Mary’s example of faith to God.”

“She was willing to say ‘yes’ to God in obedience to His will,” said Msgr Heng, referring to the Annunciation.

“We as Christians, must live like Our Lady; have the faith to believe that the impossible can become possible,” he said.

And when doubt arises, to remember what Archangel Gabriel said to Mary: “Do not be afraid.”

“We must not be afraid … and learn to let go and let God transform our lives,” Msgr Heng said, adding that “God will not fail. He will not disappoint us.”

Msgr Heng also spoke about the “sins and discouraging influences that keep us away from God,” some of which were addiction to gambling, pornography and alcohol.

He urged everyone present to pray for healing and a conversion of heart for themselves and those who they knew were struggling with these addictions and temptations.

Msgr Philip Heng blessing the crowd with the Blessed Sacrament.

A candlelight procession in which the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was carried followed the Mass. Although those in the cathedral had to remain seated, they were able to watch a live feed of the procession.

The recitation of the rosary took place after the procession. It was recited in four languages – English, Mandarin, Latin and Japanese. This was to symbolise the universality of the Catholic Church, said Msgr Heng.

Msgr Heng later blessed the crowd with the Blessed Sacrament as hymns echoed throughout the cathedral.

Ms Caroline Tang, 56, said she was moved by the prayerful mood.

“The atmosphere here was really powerful,” she said. “I saw people kneeling on the road during the rosary and many in earnest prayer throughout the night which was inspiring to see.”

Mr Fredrick Toh, 77, said, “It was really touching for me to watch the procession of the statue of Our Lady.”

“My wife and I used to attend the [Fatima] devotions at St Joseph’s Church [Victoria St] before she passed away but I know Our Lady and the Lord are looking after her now,” he said.

People praying the rosary during the celebration.

The local centennial celebration of Our Lady of Fatima started with a May 13 Mass held at St Joseph’s Church (Victoria St).

From Sept 11-18, a Marian statue blessed by Pope Francis made its way around the archdiocese. The highlight of the visit was the Sept 13 Mass held at St Joseph’s Institution which saw about 5,000 people participating.

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