From Vision to Reality
In four concrete steps, every Catholic in Singapore can play a role in realising the vision of the Archdiocese
When Archbishop William Goh assumed office in 2013, he called for a more vibrant, missionary and evangelistic Church in Singapore.
Several priests, religious and lay leaders within the archdiocese responded to his call by stepping up to develop a 10-year pastoral plan to realise the vision.
“It is the desire of our Lord that all of humanity would become one family of God, and what the Lord desires is what we also dream for our Church, country, and the whole of humanity,” Archbishop William said.
But such a vision will remain merely a dream if Catholics in Singapore do not actively participate in the mission and vision of the Church.
“To be more vibrant, missionary and evangelistic are the goals, the ideal state. But they are simply abstract words if there are no concrete plans to reach there,” explained Mr Andrew Sng and Mr Benedict Cheong, board members of the Catholic Foundation and Caritas Singapore respectively.
They have been working together to assist archdiocesan organisations align with the pastoral vision of the archdiocese through four key thrusts: to rekindle our faith; to renew our people; to revitalise our outreach; and to refresh our structures.
“These four thrusts not only provide archdiocesan organisations a framework to review and align themselves to the pastoral plan, but also represent four concrete steps every Catholic—priest, religious and laity alike—can actively participate in to bring the vision of the archdiocese to life,” said Mr Sng.
Into three years of the 10-year pastoral plan, the archdiocese is at a critical point in its voyage. With the active embrace and involvement of every Catholic in Singapore, an exciting and grace-filled future is truly within reach for the Church.
Rekindling our Faith
“Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5) was the Apostles’ prayer to Jesus when they realised that faith, which is a gift from God, is the only way of having a personal relationship with Him and fulfilling their vocation as disciples.
The Church believes that it is faith that moves mountains, and faith that leads anyone to proclaim the Gospel.
Thus, the first step to truly becoming a vibrant Church, is for every Catholic to have a deep and personal relationship with Christ.
To this end, several organisations in the archdiocese help Catholics from all walks of life rekindle and constantly deepen their faith.
This includes the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family (ACF), Office for New Evangelisation (ONE), Office for Young People (OYP) and Catholic Spirituality Centre (CSC), among others.
Renewing our People
This involves helping Catholics constantly renew their knowledge and understanding of God.
To quote Pope St John Paul II in his 1998 encyclical, Fides et Ratio, “faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth”. A personal relationship with God, and a deep knowledge of Him, go hand in hand.
This is important especially for Catholics who are employed in the Church, who hold important positions in ministries, as well as the priests and religious in Singapore.
There are several organisations in the archdiocese dedicated to promoting faith formation, including the Office for Catechesis (OFC), Catholic Theological Institute of Singapore (CTIS) and Archdiocesan Commission for Catholic Schools (ACCS).
Revitalising our Outreach
Core to every Christian is a commitment to “love your neighbour” (Mt 22:39), especially the poor and the marginalised.
In Singapore, they do not necessarily hold up tin cans. They come in different forms—the migrant workers, the handicapped, the unemployed, and many others.
To be more missionary and evangelistic in its work, the Church in Singapore aims to find better and more effective ways to reach out to them.
To coordinate the social mission of the archdiocese, organisations such as Caritas Singapore and Caritas Humanitarian Aid & Relief Initiatives Singapore (CHARIS), were established.
The recent establishment of Agape Village in Toa Payoh also enables the archdiocese to provide holistic and integrated care to the poor and marginalised.
Refreshing our Structures
The final approach to realising the archdiocese’s vision is refreshing our structures, which encompasses the Church’s operating procedures, good management, governance and the physical structures.
The archdiocese set up the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning of Resources team (ASPR) as a “think tank” to strategize the use of the Church’s resources. Other organisations like the Archdiocesan Finance Commission and the Chancery also ensure good management in the Church in the areas of accounting and Human Resource.
At the same time, the Church also hopes to provide every Catholic a space to gather, worship and serve God.
Overlooking such issues are organisations like the Archdiocesan Land & Properties Singapore (ALPS).