My fellow priests, Sisters
Chairlady and members of the Sacred Heart Women’s League
And their beloved spouses and family members
Dear Friends, parishioners of Sacred Heart, ladies and gentlemen
We have just celebrated Mass at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel more than an hour ago. We gathered there to thank God for His merciful love to us individually and to the Catholic Women’s League of Sacred Heart for its past 42 years of service to the parish and society.
I thought the Eucharistic celebration has summed up well your feelings on this occasion. For without the grace of God, human institutions will find it difficult to last long.
Forty-two years are not a short time. To be able to carry on as a group year after year for such a long period is truly a blessing of God. That is why we came together in the Eucharist to express our gratitude to our God who never fails to pour out His grace on those who believe in Him.
Our coming together here in this restaurant is an extension of that joy, that gratitude we have expressed in the Mass. Through the makan, we listen to one another’s story and share our plans and hopes, especially in how we can continue to live our faith in a society which is getting more and more hostile to our faith.
Dear members of Women’s League,
I wish to take this occasion to thank each of you for your commitment and dedication in serving the church through the Women’s League. I know many of you have sacrificed a lot in giving your time, energy and even money. For this, I truly appreciate it. Many of our diocesan functions held in Sacred Heart would not have been organised properly without your service; the same too with the many parish events. Your presence, patience and dedication are of great help to keep the parish moving.
I hope in the course of your service, you have been spiritually empowered and emotionally comforted by the presence of the Spirit who urges and motivates you to serve. And I believe He will be pleased to lead you on to the many more anniversaries to come.
I think many of you are getting more familiar with the words and style of our Holy Father, Pope Francis. In one of his interviews he was asked about the role of women in the Church. He said, “The role of women mirrors that of the Virgin Mary. And the Virgin Mary is the most important out of all the apostles. The Church cannot be understood with the women who serve.”
You can see how our Holy Father views the position of women in the Church. But by using the Virgin Mary as the role model, he is inviting all women to be “women of God” above everything else. Mary was an ordinary kampong girl when she was approached by the angel. She was able to accept the responsibility as the mother of Jesus because she loved and trusted God even it it meant she had to suffer humiliation. She was prepared to stand by Jesus even though there were still many questions unanswered about “who He is.” But what is most amazing is that all through her life, Mary continued to remain as a humble kampong woman, quietly serving and helping Jesus in His mission.
It is my prayer and wish that the women in our parishes will take after Mary, supporting the evangelising mission of the local Church in the way Mary supported Jesus’ mission.
So, dear friends, I hope I am not taking too much of your makan time. Before I end my speech, once again, I wish to congratulate the Women’s League of Sacred Heart for their 42nd anniversary. I pray that it will continue to serve, not only in the physical and financial needs of the parish, but also to respond to the cries of other women who may not necessarily be regular church goers. Thank you and God bless you all.