(Vatican Radio) Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin is now in Singapore, on the last leg of his journey to Asia. As in Indonesia and East Timor, the cardinal met with the local community with which he celebrated Mass on Sunday for the Feast of the Assumption at the Church of St Joseph.
Below find Cardinal Parolin’s Homily in English
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today, as we gather as Church to celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven, we are united, not only as the universal Church around the See of Peter, but also with the communion of saints as One Church.
I greet with affection your Archbishop, the Most Rev. William Goh thanking him for his kind words of welcome.
I also greet the priests, religious men and women, as well as all of the lay faithful and men and women of good will, who are here to join us in this Eucharistic celebration. I convey to each of you the greetings and blessings of Pope Francis as we are united with him in our prayers this morning.
In this moment my thought is also for those who are unable to attend this celebration, especially the elderly and the sick, in particular Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Chia.
The scriptural passages of today’s Mass give us tremendous hope as we contemplate our final destination; for a member of the human family has charted a way for all of us. Our Lady, in her Assumption, has this glorious privilege which encourages us on our earthly pilgrimage.
The wonderful gift of redemption is fully realised in the resurrection of the body and this Solemnity reminds us that the corporeal world is also the subject of the redemption of Christ. The human person is not separated into a spiritual part and a bodily part. The human person is offered salvation integrally: both body and soul.
This year, Singapore commemorates fifty years of independence. I know that the National Day was celebrated a week ago and, on 4th July, the Catholic community of Singapore rejoiced in prayers and festivity for SG50. I join in your gladness and congratulate you, wishing peace and prosperity for your beloved Country.
As Our Lady’s Assumption is not the end of salvation history but the beginning, so also, the next fifty years calls for the Church in Singapore to help chart a way forward for herself and in her service of society.
While much has been achieved over the span of fifty years, the work is never finished and the torch is passed on to a new generation of citizens.
For almost 200 years the Church has been present in Singapore. Against that backdrop, today’s gospel invites the Christian community to look with some urgency at new and creative ways of carrying forward the proclamation of the gospel of salvation in a changing society. This includes addressing the new challenges that emerge in a “globalised” and more connected world; offering practical assistance to an emerging reality in need of guidance.
His Holiness, Pope Francis has called the Church to live up to her mission: to go forth, to go out of herself. He reminds all of us that the task of every Christian is to be a missionary; to be a missionary especially to the margins and at the peripheries of our societies.
I am indeed glad to note that the Church in Singapore has organisations and institutions, attending not only to the fields of education and health, but also to care for the poor, the elderly, those marginalised by sickness and also offenders. We should not, however, simply allow these initiatives, good though they undoubtedly are, to obscure the personal obligation, incumbent on each one of us, to be a disciple of Jesus Christ in reaching out to the lost, the last and the least.
As Singapore continues to progress in contributing much to the international community, it is important for the Catholic Church to be a partner with all people of good will in recognising the place of religious faiths, virtue and morality as essential foundations of a society and a nation.
In the face of aggressive secularism, the Church needs to present a rational and patient witness recalling the words of Pope Francis who said, “When, in the name of an ideology, there is an attempt to remove God from society, it ends up adoring idols, and very soon men and women lose their way, their dignity is trampled and their rights violated.” (Pope Francis, Speech, Tirana, 21 September 2014).
Celebrating this Solemnity today, we recall the witness of Our Lady who in her hymn recognises the rightful place of God, “My Soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exults in God my saviour” (Luke 1: 46-47).
In Mary, we have a perfect example of a disciple who was able and made herself available to the working of the Holy Spirit: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your Word!” (Luke 1: 38).
With Our Lady as your guide, I believe the Archdiocese of Singapore will do great things for the Lord! The Mother of God protects us with the mantle of her maternal love; her intercession is a consolation for all her children, but also a prompt to ensure we stay close to her Son on our earthly pilgrimage.
As we continue with our Eucharist, we give thanks for the fruitful witness of the Catholic Church in Singapore and we ask God to shower abundant blessings for her constant growth and witness as a missionary Church.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Despite a downpour of rain, thousands of pilgrims and tourists turned out to be with Pope Francis for the Sunday Angelus.
Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s report
Before the recitation of the Marian prayer, the Holy Father from the window of his studio above St Peter’s Square, recalled the Gospel reading of the day from John, in which Jesus says, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day “. The Pope noted that the astonishment of the audience at this phrase is understandable.
But Pope Francis explained that, “knowing he will have to die on the cross for us, Jesus identifies himself with the bread broken and shared, and it becomes for him the “sign” of the sacrifice that awaits him.” Communion, the Holy Father said, “is assimilation: eating Him, we become like Him. But this requires our “yes”, our adherence of faith.”
Turning his attention to the Mass itself, Pope Francis said that sometimes people are heard to say What is Mass for? I go to church when I feel like it, and I pray better alone. ”
But, the Pope stressed, “the Eucharist is not a private prayer or a beautiful spiritual experience.
The Eucharist, said the Holy Father, “ is Jesus who gives himself entirely to us.” Those who feed on Him and abide in Him through Holy Communion and faith, he added, will see their lives transformed as a gift to God and to others.
In conclusion, the Pope recalled Jesus’ words, “He who eats this bread will live forever”. He then explained that by living in communion with Jesus on this earth we can look forward to the voice of the Risen Lord who calls us when we finally close our eyes.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) The Holy See’s pavilion at Expo Milan has said that on Ferragosto, the Feast of the Assumption on Saturday, turnout at its exhibition was very high and saw many families coming along.
It also confirmed that in the first half of August more than 100 thousand people visited the event.
Since the beginning of Expo in May the Holy See’s pavilion has seen in excess of 600 thousand visitors.
In particular much interest has been shown in the tapestry by Rubens which features “the institution of the Eucharist”. It replaced “The Last Supper” by Tintoretto. Visitors, according to guides and volunteers at the exhibit, have expressed much curiosity in the interactive aspects of the pavilion, such as the a special effect movie inspired by the theme of creation.
The pavilion also said it has sold more than 2000 copies of Pope Francis’ latest encyclical Laudato Si.
(from Vatican Radio)…