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New Evangelization Experience. Our Parish Day of Recollection

posted Aug 21, 2015, 10:25 AM by Risen Christ   [ updated Dec 30, 2015, 8:05 PM ]
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The need for constant renewal to keep up with the times

It was full-house at Risen Christ Parish as about 1,000 parishioners came together on 7 August to take part in a full-day retreat conducted by Archbishop William Goh. The theme of the retreat was the New Evangelisation. The contents of the talks by Archbishop Goh were wide-ranging, but they fell mainly into three broad areas: how to respond to a fast-changing world, bringing our lost sheep back into the fold, and equipping ourselves for the task of this New Evangelisation.

Things are moving at a break-neck pace on the global stage. More changes have taken place in the world in the last decade -- especially in areas like technology, geo-politics and social media -- than in the century before. And we can expect more changes ahead. Archbishop warned that the Church needs to be prepared to respond to the challenges brought about by these changes -- or risk being overtaken or deemed irrelevant.

For example, the new laws on abortion, contraception, gay rights and same-sex marriage passed in other countries have divided communities around the world. The Catholic Church has not been spared.

Archbishop said that the Church needs to be more caring and sensitive to the needs of people with differing views. Many Catholic divorcees, single parents and people with same-sex attraction are in a moral dilemma, sometimes through no fault of theirs. They want to remain in the Church. As Catholics we should do what we can to reconcile them to the Church instead of ostracising them.

We also need to reconsider our catechesis. We can no longer teach our children by rote. They are already exposed to all kinds of information through the Internet and social media -- some of them at variance with Church teachings. We need to find new ways to catechise and communicate with our children. And we need to make our Catechism classes more engaging and interesting.

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Archbishop said that to start the work of evangelisation we, as Catholics, first need to be holy: "Without holiness we cannot change the world. To be holy is to live authentic lives in our own stations in life, whether as parents, teachers, businessman or priest.

"The reason why our efforts at evangelisation fail is because our ministries are more concerned with doing work than discipleship.

"We first need to be convicted in the Word of God and become disciples before attempting to evangelise.

"If the Word of God touches you, it will touch your audience; it if doesn't touch you, it won't touch your audience."

Chris Soh a parishioner who came with his wife and two teenage sons said: "It was great to be coming together as a parish community to reflect on something as important as Evangelisation. It was also an opportunity to bond with my family and with the parish community."

Ian Binny, the Chair of the Organising Committee said: "In the past years, the day of recollection was a simple half-day affair which would normally end with lunch. This year, it was a whole-day affair which included a Holy Hour comprising scripture reflections, Benediction and a Eucharistic Procession, and ended on a high note with Eucharistic celebration. This Recollection is only the start of a journey for many. In order for the New Evangelisation to gain traction in our parishes, mindsets will first have to change."

~ Vincent Especkerman