“It is important that all religions work together to ensure that there are signs of closeness and sharing especially in the various religious feasts, celebrations and other occasions; this is important in light of the phenomenon of secularization that affects all societies and poses a challenge to all religions, as it minimizes or marginalizes the fundamental spiritual values,” said Archbishop of Singapore William Goh. As Fides News Agency reported January 17, 2019, he underlined the progressive strengthening of good relations with other religions in the nation and hoping that they can offer a contribution to the life of society.
With this in mind, the Church of Singapore organized an interreligious event on December 26 at the Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace, led by the Diocesan Council for interreligious dialogue. Members of the Buddhist, Muslim, Taoist, Jewish, and Hindu communities were present at the meeting. The event was an opportunity to socialize and strengthen friendship.
Urging all those present “to work so that people appreciate the values of every religion,” Archbishop Goh referred to Christmas which, for Christians, is “the incarnation of God, it is Jesus Christ who gives himself to each person.”
Religions, the Archbishop remarked, “must go beyond mere mutual respect and are called to reach the next level, that is to appreciate the values that every religion promotes and how the believers of every faith can learn from each other,” being bearers of peace, benevolence, light, love in society.
The parish priest of the host church, Fr.Timothy Yeo shared and showed a video that tells the story of the beginning of the Catholic Church in Singapore, hoping for a path of dialogue, collaboration and common commitment for the believers of the various religious communities present in the city-state.
Singapore is a multi-religious and multicultural country. It has a population of 5.6 million people, including 383,000 Catholics, about 9% of the population.