Archbishop William Goh and FLS board chairman John Ooi blowing out the candles on the cake as (from left) counselling consultant Sue Richmond, board members Christopher Murugasu and John Lim, volunteer Rose Boon, and board member Alison Snodgrass look on. Photo: DOMINIC WONGArchbishop William Goh and FLS board chairman John Ooi blowing out the candles on the cake as (from left) counselling consultant Sue Richmond, board members Christopher Murugasu and John Lim, volunteer Rose Boon, and board member Alison Snodgrass look on. Photo: DOMINIC WONG
“Every family must pray. The family that prays together stays together.”

These were some words of advice that Archbishop William Goh gave during a Mass to mark the Family Life Society’s (FLS) 30th anniversary.

About 200 FLS volunteers, staff, affiliate representatives and board members attended the Mass and dinner held at the Serangoon Gardens Country Club.

Archbishop Goh, in his homily, gave some advice to parents on how they can cope with a new child in the family.

He noted that some parents might devote more attention to the child, thereby neglecting their spouse. When there is no time for love and communication between couples, the relationship suffers, he said.

Children are also sensitive to the words and actions of their parents, he added. When a child senses that a sibling is being favoured, that child might feel insecure, resulting in sibling rivalry and resentment towards the parents.

Couples with differing values, traditions or religions may sometimes disagree on how to bring up a child. This confuses the child who may then turn to other sources of love and comfort, Archbishop Goh warned.

Some parents are too focused on their careers and do not spend sufficient time with their child, thus neglecting the child’s well-being, he added. These children might then turn to friends for acceptance and love instead of their parents, and might fall into the wrong company.

Archbishop Goh said his wish for FLS was for it to be a living witness of good families and beautiful marriages.  “You cling to Jesus as the cornerstone, the rock,” he stressed.

Concelebrating the Mass were Msgr Ambrose Vaz, FLS spiritual director Fr David Garcia and Jesuit Fr Charles Sim.

The Mass was followed by a dinner.

FLS board chairman John Ooi, in his address, said that the family is under greater threat than ever before. FLS thus needs to brace itself for more challenges and work ahead. He assured the crowd that FLS will constantly review its strategies to keep abreast of changing attitudes and strive to stay relevant to the needs of society.

Three long-serving volunteers, each with more than 20 years of service to FLS, were honoured for their contributions and received specially-commissioned artworks. They were Dr John Lim, Ms Sue Richmond and Ms Rose Boon.

Strengthening families and marriages

Since its inception in 1985, FLS’ mission has been to empower families, strengthen marriages and uphold the dignity of human life.

Today, its team of eight full-time staff and about 60 volunteers offer programmes and services such as marital and family therapies, para counselling service, education programmes, Pregnancy Crisis Service, Joyful Parenting and Rachel’s Vineyard, which ministers to those who have been involved with an abortion.

FLS has 10 affiliates: Beginning Experience, CHOICE, Catholic Engaged Encounter, Couples for Christ, Couple Empowerment Programme, Marriage Preparation Course, Marriage Encounter, Natural Family Planning, Marriage Retorno and Retrouvaille.

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