Between 11 Oct 2012 and 24 Nov 2013, the Catholic Church observed the Year of Faith which was decreed by Pope Benedict XVI and set aside for Catholics throughout the world to rediscover, and share with others, the precious gift of Faith entrusted to the Church and the personal gift of faith that we have each received from God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Church of the Risen Christ set up a Year of Faith website, published a series of Year of Faith bulletins and organised a series of activities to help parishioners reflect on and rediscover the faith in the Year of Faith. As the Year of Faith draws to a close, let us reflect upon what this year has meant for each of us.
Reproduced below is the Pastoral Letter for the closing of the Year of Faith by His Grace Archbishop William Goh:
MESSAGE FOR THE CLOSING OF THE YEAR OF FAITH
My dear fellow brothers in the presbyterate, religious brothers and sisters and all faithful.
With the celebration of the Feast of Christ the King, we bring to a close the Year of Faith. As we end the Year of Faith, it is important to recall the objective for celebrating the Year of Faith so that we can assess the fruits of this celebration and how we can move forward with fresh zeal and enthusiasm in the spread of the Faith.
We are living in very challenging times. The twin scourges of this century, namely, secularism and relativism have changed the moral climate of this century. When God is no longer recognized as the absolute and the ultimate reality, humanity has supplanted the place of God. The offspring of secularism is necessarily relativism, since the former says that truth cannot be found. With secularism also comes materialism, as the spiritual dimension of humanity is denied and the human person is reduced to a material creature like the rest of the world. As a consequence today we are living in a materialistic and amoral society with values that are anti-life and an illusory and superficial love that is not founded on truth. Continue reading
Throughout history we have seen many monarchies, dynasties and empires rise only to fall after a period of time. At the height of their power, they seemed invincible. But after their “golden age” they tend to stagnate, then lose steam and wane.
Some of those empires fell due to rebellion on the part of their conquered subjects. Others fell because of betrayal and internal strife. Many fell simply because another stronger empire arose and replaced them.
During the early part of the twentieth century, the “kings” of the world were jockeying for power and prestige. They were colonizing lands in all the continents for strategic advantage and to control the trade routes.
All Souls’ Day (2 Nov 2013) commemorates the faithful departed. The Roman Catholic celebration is associated with the doctrine that the souls of the faithful who at death have not been cleansed from the temporal punishment due to venial sins and from attachment to mortal sins cannot immediately attain the beatific vision in heaven, and that they may be helped to do so by prayer and by the sacrifice of the Mass.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines purgatory as a “purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven,” which is experienced by those “who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified” (CCC 1030). It notes that “this final purification of the elect … is entirely different from the punishment of the damned” (CCC 1031).
The purification is necessary because, as Scripture teaches, nothing unclean will enter the presence of God in heaven (Rev. 21:27) and, while we may die with our mortal sins forgiven, there can still be many impurities in us, specifically venial sins and the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven. Christ refers to the sinner who “will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matt. 12:32), suggesting that one can be freed after death of the consequences of one’s sins. Similarly, Paul tells us that, when we are judged, each man’s work will be tried. And what happens if a righteous man’s work fails the test? “He will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Cor 3:15). Now this loss, this penalty, cannot refer to consignment to hell, since no one is saved there;and heaven cannot be meant, since there is no suffering (“fire”) there. The Catholic doctrine of purgatory alone explains this passage. Continue reading
On 20 October 2013 (Sun), as the Church celebrates Mission Sunday, let us recall the mission of the Church and what it means for every Christian. “Having been divinely sent to the nations that she might be ‘the universal sacrament of salvation,’ the Church, in obedience to the command of her founder … strives to preach the Gospel to all men”: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you …” (CCC 849) Because she believes in God’s universal plan of salvation, the Church must be missionary. (CCC 851) Missionary endeavor requires patience, and the missionary task implies a respectful dialogue with those who do not yet accept the Gospel. (CCC 854 & 856)
Fr Kamelus Kamus, CICM, shares his missionary experience below.
“Go from your country, to the land I will show you.”
I took the call of Abraham (Gen 12:1) as my motto when I was ordained priest on 30 April 1995. Abraham was called by God from Uhr Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq). He was called to a land God will show him. The land he was to go was unknown land, but it was the very land God would show him. I believe that this is a very sound biblical foundation for understanding mission and missionary activities. Continue reading