Cardinal: Prayers and Love Needed to Form the Archdiocese for Tomorrow
In this extract of his homily at the Catholic Foundation Thanksgiving Mass on 24 November 2022, Cardinal William Goh speaks of what is essential to the work of evangelisation and the pastoral vision
When Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Chia first established Catholic Foundation, its purpose was capacity building as there was a need to form the people in faith and to equip staff with the necessary skills to lead organisations.
When I took over, there was a requirement for more infrastructure and organisations in the Church. We built the St Francis Xavier Seminary Building and the Bethany East Clergy Residence, started several organisations and expanded the scope of existing ones. There was also a need for improved infrastructure because we could not have all these offices without a place to house them.
Today, Catholic Foundation supports these initiatives, multiple offices with different functions, and building projects. The Foundation is also seeking funds to build the Catholic Hub, which is essential for the work of the Archdiocese.
We can see how the Archdiocese has grown over the last 10 years. Our vision is clear: we are here to build a vibrant, evangelising and missionary Church. The Archdiocesan offices are essential to the work of evangelisation, and supporting the parishes and the Archbishop. These offices are critical in growing the faith of our people and are the engine of the Church, to form and empower them to be more active in our parishes. This is why we have been strengthening our offices so that they can carry out the mandate given to them.
Faith and prayer
The need for these organisations is clear. The first reading (Apocalypse 18:1-2, 21-23, 19:1-3, 9) warns us of a possible future of devastation. This seems frightening as it speaks about the end of time. Yet the truth is that if we are not careful and do nothing to protect our faith and values, we will also fall into decadence and absorb the Babylonian or pagan culture, as portrayed in the scriptures. The Roman Empire was prosperous and had a powerful military, yet its citizens were called to worship the Emperor. As a result, the people did not have any real values or morality, and the emphasis was on one’s own enjoyment and pleasure. The consequence for the Romans was terrible.
In the Gospel (Luke 21:20-28), Jesus reminds us that we must have faith. We should be confident that although things may be going wrong, we have to hold on to our belief that the grace of God will triumph over evil. This is why Jesus told his disciples to hold their heads high because “liberation was near at hand”.
How do we ensure this? Through prayer! We must believe that the grace of God will overcome evil at the end of time. Jesus asked us to pray and to be alert so that we can truly guide history and form the right values.
This is why we are gathered here today. I would like to thank you all for the encouragement that you have given to us because we need to keep on building the Church.
Evangelising the laity
My utmost concern is the formation of our laity, to help them be more grounded in the Word of God and to develop their faith and spiritual life. This can only be done when we have more people to help us continue proclaiming the Gospel. I believe that the laity and the clergy should work together.
Since I took office, many of our lay people have been empowered to work with the priests in formation work and the spreading of the Gospel. However, it is not enough just to have more workers, which is why I encourage the offices to find staff who are passionate about the Gospel and believe in the mission of the Church.
We have many young people and lay faithful working with us. We must empower them. We have to send them for courses, equip them with skills and grow their knowledge so they can continue to contribute to and serve the Church.
Your support and love
These things require financial resources, and if you want the Church to grow, we must all help to build up the laity, either as volunteers or as full-time workers, to labour for the spread of the Gospel. The more we have, the stronger we become, and the Good News can then be given to all.
Besides praying to God and the assurance of His presence, what keeps me going is His love that is completely manifested in all of you. I am grateful to all who have made the growth of the Archdiocese possible. I deeply appreciate your help and services. Together, let us continue to build this Church of Christ.