Jared Ng

Against the backdrop of a fast-paced modern society, coupled with an ageing population, there are certainly many health and social issues that would require the Church’s attention. Some of these issues include mental wellness, from managing stress to psychological issues, various ageing related concerns, and addressing the needs and stigmatisation of those who are living with HIV/AIDS.

To address these concerns, there are organisations under the aegis of our Archdiocese which are caring for the community’s different needs.

To encourage the staff of these organisations and thank them for their good work, Archbishop William Goh made a pastoral visit to three of these organisations on Oct 1. The four-hour trip was well appreciated by both the staff and the beneficiaries who use the services.

The visit began with Montfort Care, in Yishun, which is a network of programmes committed to improving the lives of individuals, families and the community facing transitional challenges.

Archbishop Goh next made his way to Clarity Singapore, also in Yishun, which helps those with mental health issues live meaningful lives through support, therapy, acceptance and recovery. The visit ended at the Catholic AIDS Response Effort (CARE) which creates awareness of HIV/AIDS issues, the plight of People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) and operates a shelter for them.

The three organisations come under the umbrella of Caritas Singapore, the social mission arm of our Archdiocese.

Apart from getting a first-hand account of what the organisations do, Archbishop Goh took the opportunity to interact with the staff and their beneficiaries. He offered suggestions on how the organisations could further expand their services and listened to feedback from them.

At Clarity Singapore, he heard several heartfelt testimonies from people with struggles and difficulty integrating into the general community. However at their lowest points, they found solace and acceptance from the staff and other clients at Clarity Singapore.

His Grace encouraged them to continue their journey and not be ashamed of their situations. Instead he called on them to resolve to be compassionate and bring hope to others in similar predicaments. To the staff, he affirmed their good work and said the next step was to raise more awareness of their services.

At Montfort Care, Archbishop Goh was introduced to GoodLife!, one of Montfort Care’s network of programmes which aims to help seniors aged 50 and above achieve a better quality of life.

He was given a demonstration of the home bathing service for the elderly and learned how the organisation’s various services cater
to the wide needs of senior citizens.

Staff and volunteers shared stories of aiding the elderly in different capacities. What kept them motivated was knowing that the needs of the seniors and even their caregivers are met.

Archbishop’s last stop at CARE brought him close to the reality of PLWHAs. Continued advocacy to tackle the stigmatisation of PLWHAs remains the main challenge for staff and volunteers of CARE.

Because of continued marginalisation by their own families, employers and society at large, there is still a lack of compassion for the plight of PLWHAs. This stems from a lack of knowledge about AIDS infection.

CARE shared that on top of being a concrete sign of God’s love for PLWHAs, changing attitudes towards HIV/AIDS is another key objective. Archbishop Goh was steadfast in his support for them, recognising that their challenges are complicated.

He interacted with the shelter’s residents over tea and ended his visit with a prayer and blessing.

His Grace will be visiting Canossaville Children and Community Services on Oct 30.

To find out more,
Caritas Singapore: caritas-singapore.org.
Clarity Singapore: clarity-singapore.org.
Montfort Care and GoodLife! programme: montfortcare.org.sg.
CARE: care.org.sg.

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Archbishop William Goh with a Montfort Care beneficiary.

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