Official video by PixelMusica on the Speech of Coadjutor Archbishop William Goh Seng Chye of Singapore at the Episcopal Ordination at MAX Pavilion, EXPO, Singapore, on Friday, 22 February 2013, the Feast of Chair of Saint Peter the Apostle.
The Speech :
“President Tony Tan;
Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, Apostolic Nuncio to Singapore;
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean;
Archbishop Nicholas Chia;
Fellow Archbishops and Bishops;
Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon;
Members of Parliament;
Esteemed heads of Interreligious organisations;
My fellow priests, religious, and seminarians;
Relatives and friends.
Every successful event requires many hours of hard work, particularly so for an event of this scale and significance, even more so for one that was put together under the shadow of many seemingly impossible odds. But we are people of great faith. At least, I can vouch for the organising committee. Not only did they do everything within their power to move mountains, but they stormed heaven and earth, working tirelessly with the countless hands behind the scenes to turn this event within a span of just fifty-five days.
Truly, this event has been occasion to manifest the generosity and charisms of the people, all working together as one Body in Christ. It is indeed a privilege and a joy to behold the power and the glory of God in turning water into wine, in situations that seem near impossible by human reckoning. I cannot begin to thank everyone who has made this event so memorable for me. The list is long, and the night is short, and the trains would not wait.
So, I will not launch into a litany of thanks. But at least allow me to mention a few groups of people without whose support and blessings, we would not be here tonight. First of all, I must give glory to God, for He has not abandoned His flock, and has blessed the Church of Singapore with the gift of renewal. I am humbled that He has appointed me to shepherd and build on the work of my predecessors, in spite of my unworthiness and inadequacies, a sinner among men. I must also thank our blessed Mother, for drawing me near to her Son, guiding and shielding me with mental protection ever since I was young.
I was particularly honoured to have the President of Singapore, Dr. Tony Tan; the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Teo Chee Hean; Chief Justice, Sundaresh Menon; leaders and representatives from other Christian communions or churches, and heads of the interreligious organisations, graced this evening’s Episcopal Ordination with their presence. Thank you for celebrating and supporting this momentous event of the Catholic Church in Singapore.
Next, I wish to express my gratitude to His Grace Archbishop Nicholas Chia, who has given me so many opportunities to grow in faith, always supporting me in my ministry. I thank him for his guidance, support, and fatherly love. I knew he will continue to level the path for me in the transition period to leadership of the Church. I would also like to thank the Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, for agreeing to be the Principal Consecrator. My gratitude also goes with His Grace Archbishop Nicholas Chia and Archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam, for co-consecrating me at my ordination.
My heartfelt thanks to all the bishops of the region, and all my brother priests from Singapore, Malaysia, and India, and Myanmar, for concelebrating the Mass with me. I am grateful that you have made time to pray and celebrate with me in spite of your tight schedules. Distance has not hindered you from showing me your fraternal support. Let us give thanks to all these people.
My great appreciation goes also to the organising committee. They don’t want me to name them. Who deliberated and despite the great challenges of planning and executing the ordination within such a short time frame, forged courageously ahead with 22 February 2013 date. Many of the members sacrificed their time and precious sleep, often meeting into the night, even after a hard day’s work at the office. Truly, truly I can’t thank them enough. They have won my admiration and confidence. Thank you.
As I have said, they don’t want their names to be mentioned. So we give glory to God for them. The first of the many challenges was to find suitable venue at short notice to accomodate 14,000 people. God however had sent many angels to make it possible. I must thank the many government departments. In particular, the traffic and security agencies, and the Singapore EXPO, for their critical logistic support in securing the venue and ensuring a smooth execution of the event.
Of course, I must thank the various ministry from churches all over Singapore, who joined forces to form the combined choir, and served as the liturgy ministers, altar servers, wardens, hospitality ministers. My brother priests, who have provided valuable guidance, and support to the various committees to ensure the proper liturgical and other Church protocols were observed.
The young and energetic team of designers, from the youth ministry, Amplify! and their associates, who helped with all the design works, including my coat-of-arms, and the souvenir magazine.
The team of professional photographers and videographers who so freely and generously give of their talent, time, and rights to intellectual property, and you the faithful for joining me in this glorious occasion.
In a special way, I must thank my late mother, whom I believe is instrumental in inspiring and nurturing my vocation, because of her deep prayer life, faith, and love, for blessed Mother. I want to thank my brothers, and I want to thank my sister, Anne. Particularly, for their constant support, and understanding, and for looking after the family.
To the many individuals and groups who had contributed in one way or another, in kind and in spirit, known and refusing to be known, who gave their all joyfully, let me say a big thank you.
I know many of you have also been praying for me, individually, and in community, first that I would not be made bishop, because you want me to continue with the retreats. Then, when that was not to be, praying, fasting, and offering sacrifices that I would be a good shepherd, persevering in the trials that must come my way. I am deeply touched and edified. Fervent and constant prayer, and I repeat, fervent and constant prayer, would be the best gift you can give to me. For without prayers, I would not be able to be a good, wise, and holy shepherd, after the heart of Christ.
I too pray, that I would be worthy of my appointment, that in union with Christ, I would remain faithful to the ministry of the Apostles entrusted to me. Trusting and relying, not on my own strength, but in God’s infinite wisdom and power, that I’ll bring everything to completion according to His Divine plan and purpose. Indeed, in this time of mounting secularism and relativism, as our Nuncio has mentioned in his homily. A mist of threat of an Antichrist, anti-establishment era, there is much that we as the Church can do and must do. That is to share the Gospel values, and to make Christ known.
You know my family name may sound like one who is destined for action – ‘Go (Goh)’ – That is why we are always on the go. But in reality, I might always be on the go, but I cannot do it alone. I see a powerhouse of bubbling enthusiasm, grace, and talent among the presbyterian and laity, and particularly the young people, that can be harnessed and unleashed to propel the Church forward in this new millenium. Together we must forge new and creative ways, to categorise our youths, who are looking for a faith that is personal, real, and tangible.
We must harness modern technology, to influence the values of society. We must also give great attention to the family and married life, which is under threat by a world that no longer believes in the institution of the family, and of marriage, which is the first cradle for Catholic spirituality.
My dear brothers and sisters, the Church must reclaim its voice in influencing world views without fear, particularly with respect to the universal values of truth and justice, for the promotion of harmony. We must continue to steadfastly, resist the lure of secularism, and relativism, which threaten to suppress the voice of God, by working assiduously in areas of interreligious dialogue and ecumenism. Unless religions unite, faith will be relegated to the private domain of an individual’s life, thereby weakening the impact of religions on society and morality.
Not withstanding the issues at large, what I hoped for above all in my episcopacy, is to be both an encouraging and supporting brother to my priests. Thank you so much, brother priests for coming. I want to empower them in their ministry, and to you laity, I would like to be a compassionate and caring father. We must therefore work at becoming a vibrant, faith-filled, missionary, evangelical Church. We must never be complacent or satisfied with a maintenance Church.
This will be achieved, not only by me, not the clergy, religious, or just the laity, but together as entire people of God in unity. Remember the Holy Father Pope Benedict has told us, laity are corresponsible, not simply collaborators. Corresponsible in the mission of the Church. Hence passion and compassion will be the hallmark and thrust of my ministry in renewing the Church in Singapore.
We are one Body, one Spirit in Christ. Your pouring of your love, sacrifice, and generosity thus far had edified me, and I am moved to give of myself to the people of God. That this not be just a passing emotion, but the breath of the new spring, the wind beneath a tidal wave of change, sweeping the Catholic Church in Singapore. Thank you for your support. Ut Vivant! That you may live!”