Archbishop William Goh and Carmelite Frs Thomas Lim and Thomas Curran praying at the Pentecost Rally Mass on May 20.

By Christopher Khoo

The Church celebrates her coming into being on Pentecost, and that is why it is called the “birthday of the Church”, said Archbishop William Goh. “The Church came into being because of the Holy Spirit.”

Archbishop Goh was speaking at the annual Pentecost Rally Mass, held at St Joseph’s Institution Junior on May 20.

“The Church was born so that the Church can continue to be a sacrament, a sign of God’s love and unity,” he said to the hundreds gathered in the hall, including some who were baptised at Easter.

“Our task as Church is to bring others to come to know Jesus, to be loved by Him, so that they know the Father’s love, mercy and forgiveness,” said Archbishop Goh.

“I pray that for those of you who have encountered the Lord intimately in your life, you will begin to share this with others,” he said.

Fr Thomas conducting a healing session with the Blessed Sacrament. Photo: VITA Images

The rally began with a rousing praise and worship session led by the Burning Bush Charismatic Group from St Anne’s Church, followed by a talk by Msgr Ambrose Vaz titled “Witnessing as One”.

To learn what it means for Catholics to “witness as one”, it is necessary to refer to the Acts of the Apostles, especially Acts 2:42, which describes how the early Christians devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayers, said Msgr Vaz.

These were the four hallmarks of witnessing in the early Church, he said.

Commenting on the first, Msgr Vaz asked the crowd, “Am I becoming more and more aware of the word of God? Do I thirst for the Scriptures?”

On the second hallmark, fellowship, Msgr Vaz explained that it is another way of describing accompaniment, participation and involvement in someone else’s life for the sake of helping that person.

“Fellowship has to leave us and the others around us with a conviction that really we are loved, we are cared for, we belong, we are one body,” said Msgr Vaz.

Msgr Ambrose Vaz spoke about the early Christian community.

The third hallmark, the breaking of the bread would be the Eucharist.

“What does the Eucharist mean for us?” he asked. “How can we witness as one by living out the Eucharist in our lives?”

On being faithful to prayers, Msgr Vaz said, “It is good to ask ourselves: when we pray, are we essentially praying only by ourselves, for ourselves, for our needs. Or do we also seek to interest others in praying together?”

Carmelite Fr Thomas Lim then conducted a healing session as he carried the Blessed Sacrament around the hall.

The crowd at St Joseph’s Institution Junior.

The rally ended with Archbishop Goh urging those who were baptised at Easter to make time to pray and to be part of a faith community.

“Share the word of God, pray together,” he said, adding that it is important to have their faith life nourished in this way first before joining a ministry.

The rally was organised by the Singapore Archdiocesan Catholic Charismatic Renewal in collaboration with the Office for the New Evangelisation and Office for Catechesis. 

Members of the Burning Bush Charismatic Group leading a praise and worship session.

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