When Hai Sing Pao, the archdiocesan Chinese newspaper, was set up 60 years ago, “I was not even born!” remarked Archbishop William Goh. “We cannot but thank our forefathers who initiated this project for the archdiocese, which was then part of Malacca.”
Archbishop Goh was speaking at a special Mass at the Church of St Bernadette on April 18 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Catholic paper. The event was concelebrated by about 10 priests and attended by hundreds.
In his homily delivered in Mandarin, Archbishop Goh commended Hai Sing Pao (which means “Star of the Sea” in Chinese) and its staff.
“For 60 years, our Chinese speaking faithful have within their means to remain connected to their faith and the Catholic community as well,” he said, adding that “the power of the written word cannot be underestimated”.
However, the advancements in mass communications mean that “all the more, we need to strengthen our tools of communicating the Good News in an attractive manner to the younger generation beyond the traditional means of newsprint”.
These include using social media such as Facebook and Twitter, he said.
“With more migrants from China, we need to market the Good News to them via the modern tools of communication,” he added.
Participants later attended a lunch held at a Chinese restaurant at HarbourFront Centre.
1953: Scheut Missions Bishop Carlo van Melckebeke was appointed Apostolic Visitor for South-east Asia, and met with local Chinese Catholics for missionary and faith formation work.
April 3, 1955: The first issue of Hai Sing Pao was published. The paper aimed to be a means of communication among the overseas Chinese community, providing its readers with news about the Universal Church.
1970: Fr Paul Tong was appointed chief editor. He became its consultant in 2004.
2004 onwards: A survey was conducted to solicit readers’ feedback and changes to the paper’s look and content were made. Colour was introduced and more faith-sharing articles by laypeople included.
2006: The paper collaborated with the Church in West Malaysia, and increased its pages from eight to 12.
2009: The paper’s website was launched (http://www.carlo.org.sg).
By Christopher Khoo