Plans in Motion to Revitalise and Grow the Archdiocese
Since charting its pastoral vision, the Archdiocese has embarked on a series of new initiatives to build a more vibrant, missionary and evangelistic Church.
Since Archbishop William Goh assumed office in 2013 and expressed a wish for a more vibrant, missionary and evangelistic Church, over 100 archdiocesan organisations have stepped up their programmes for families, youths, evangelisation, migrants, and other areas in a concerted effort to see this vision take shape.
But going beyond merely working harder, a series of projects have also been initiated by the archbishop and various priests, religious and lay leaders of the archdiocese, to facilitate the growth of the Church.
The ongoing and pipeline initiatives enhances operational efficiencies and governance, and helps to better coordinate the workings of the many parts of the Church.
Planning as Christ does
One of these initiatives was the creation of the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning & Resource Committee (ASPR) in 2014.
Made up of priests and experienced professionals from relevant backgrounds, such as in the finance, legal and building sectors, the ASPR plans for the much needed resources to realise the pastoral vision of the archdiocese.
Together with the Archdiocesan Finance Commission (AFC), the ASPR assists four subcommittees: the Operating Finance and Grants Committee, Parish Finance Oversight Committee, Fundraising Coordination Committee, and Investment Committee.
There are also plans to establish a new Archdiocesan Audit Committee (AAC) and Internal Audit Division to manage the resources of the archdiocese. They will report directly to the Archbishop of Singapore.
Plans are also underway for the accounts of the archdiocese, including its parishes, to be subject to an external audit and for the financial statements to be published by 2018. The various committees under the AFC, together with the AAC and Archdiocesan Finance Division, are in the process of drafting standards and guidelines for managing the Church’s accounts.
Communion in mission
Another important initiative is to align the strategic plans of all the organisations in the archdiocese.
In a pastoral letter published early this year, Archbishop William Goh affirmed that “if our mission is to bring all into communion with the Holy Trinity, then we must seek every means to foster communion in our Church ministries, organisations, parishes and archdiocesan bodies, whether they are full-time workers, volunteers or helpers.”
To this end, the Catholic Foundation (CF) has initiated workshops conducted by one of its board members, Mr Andrew Sng, to help key organisations kick-start planning.
Mr Sng has also worked with the Office for New Evangelisation (ONE) to help the various organisations align their respective programmes.
These alignment meetings take place monthly, each consisting of a time for prayer, discussion, sharing and brainstorming on ways to work with one another in bringing the vision of the archdiocese to reality.
Mr Mark Goh, Chairperson of the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants & Itinerant People (ACMI), discusses the challenges and future plans of the organisation with leaders and staff of Catholic organisations during an alignment meeting. Photo: Office for New Evangelisation
Another area being looked into is the properties of the Church.
In land-scarce Singapore, the optimal use of any buildings and properties are crucial in allowing the Church to grow unhindered by physical limitations.
The Archdiocesan Land & Properties Singapore (ALPS), which was formed in December 2009, takes on this task. The group is currently developing a master plan of the Church’s properties to study how to accommodate the growing needs of the Church.
At the same time, ALPS is studying the renewal of leases and ageing properties of the archdiocese, and the creation of sinking funds to make provisions when these are due.
More than a dozen properties of the Church are sitting on leasehold land today, each facing a risk of being lost if the archdiocese has insufficient funds to renew their leases when they expire.
With these projects helping to pave the way for growth, the vision to be a more vibrant, missionary and evangelistic Church is truly within reach for the archdiocese.
Mass being celebrated at the Church of Divine Mercy in Pasir Ris. The lease for the land on which the parish sits on will expire in 2036.Photo: VITA Photo