In May and June this year, Archbishop William Goh shared his 10-year pastoral plan of Church renewal with the Catholic community.
He recalled that later, during his visits to parishes, many Catholics had asked him, “How can we make this plan happen?”
“Yes, there’s certainly a lot that we have to do,” Archbishop Goh affirmed, “but God will make it happen, not you, not me”.
Nevertheless, to help achieve this vision, the Catholic Foundation was established on Dec 27, 2012.
It seeks to promote philantrophic giving to support the capacity building needs of the Church in Singapore.
The main source of funds for the archbishop has traditionally been a 15 percent share of each Sunday’s first collections in parishes. The money is used to support the operations of the archdiocese and the many archdiocesan organisations. However, with limited funds, the growth and development of the Church is constrained.
The Catholic Foundation is thus an alternative channel for benefactors who wish to support the Church’s capacity building – the developing of people and Church infrastructure.
It includes initiatives that strengthen the Catholic community, enhance the spiritual and theological growth of the faithful, develop the human and organisational capabilities of Religious and laypeople, improve the infrastructure and processes of Catholic organisations, and the sharing of best practices.
It does not, however, include funding renovations and buildings.
The Catholic Foundation has been working with several organisations, especially the new ones launched by Archbishop Goh, to realise his plan.
One of these is the Catholic Theological Institute of Singapore (CTIS) which received a start-up grant from the foundation.
CTIS rector, Fr James Yeo, noted that one of the institute’s immediate objectives is to establish a core group of people who are trained in theological studies. “The scholarships and bursaries that the foundation has funded will certainly help CTIS grow in this direction,” he said.
The foundation says it also aims to support CTIS in its hope of being a regional Church institute for Southeast Asia.
Said ONE executive director Jane Lau, “The Catholic Foundation has been very supportive of ONE, helping us to grow the capabilities of our people as well as to develop the strengths of our organisation in this work of the New Evangelisation.”
The foundation is helping the Office for Young People (OYP) to build a vibrant community where youths can feel comfortable and engaged. It recently supported the OYP team’s participation at the Asian Youth Day in South Korea.
The foundation is also supporting the start-up of the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family and will fund programmes aimed at rebuilding family values and enhancing family life.
Another initiative supported by the foundation is a series of workshops to help Catholic organisations review their strategies and align them with Archbishop Goh’s plan to “build an evangelistic and missionary Church”.
The first of these workshops, Strategic Thinking in Church Organisations was held in August at the Catholic Centre, while a follow-up session, Realising The Pastoral Vision was held on Nov 22 at the St Francis Xavier Major Seminary.
More than 40 Church leaders, spiritual directors and senior staff from selected Church organisations attended each workshop conducted by Mr Andrew Sng, an experienced consultant who has been helping Church ministries and NGOs develop and refine their strategic plans.
Catholic Foundation chairperson, Mr Kwek Mean Luck, said that the foundation, in its first year, had made grants totalling more than half a million dollars to support the archbishop’s vision.
“The new initiatives of these organisations will strengthen the formation of lay people and help us to build a stronger Church in Singapore. There is so much more that our Church can be and do,” said Mr Kwek.