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Good evening, your Grace Abp Emeritus John Lee
My fellow priests
Chairlady and members of the Sacred Heart CWL and their spouses
Friends, Parishioners of Sacred Heart
Ladies and Gentlemen

Tonight we are here to celebrate the 44th anniversary of the Sacred Heart Catholic Women’s League.  It is a time to relax and enjoy each other’s company through a meal.  I hope you will use the time not only to eat but also to share with one another your own stories.  Forty-four years are not a short time.  I am sure you will have a lot to share.  Some of you have remained faithful to the league for many, many years, and some of you are quite new.  Whatever it is, in an organisation like this, there is always room for everyone to share, especially on your faith journey and how services through the Women’s League have made you closer to God and to the Church.

Dear Friends,

In the recent Synod of Bishops, the focus was on the Family.  The bishops shared about the situation of the family in their own countries.  Many have voiced out their concerns on how the modern family is being affected by all kinds of influences, attacks and pressures.  Many of their stories are painting a grim picture of the family.  However, many too are showing a “silver lining behind the dark clouds.”

What happens to the family in the other parts of the world also happens here in our own backyards.  We hear of couples breaking up because of infidelity, money, no time for one another, and so on.  We also hear of children being neglected or being victimised by adults who take advantage of them.  Indeed, problems surrounding the family are multiplying so much so that some people are becoming indifferent or immune to the cries that come out of situations where love is no longer found.

However, the good news is that there are families who are trying their best to live in love and care for one another.  There are those who pray together constantly, who share the Word of God regularly, who support each other, who forgive and forget their hurts, who help each other to counter the negative forces that try to pull them apart, and so on.  And in many of these situations, we find the role of the mother as the heart of the family.  It is she who tries to hold things together, who plays the peacemaker’ role, who absorbs the pains, who makes family life meaningful.

I know many of you here are doing your best to play your role in your own family, and I encourage you to continue to do so.  This, to me, is vital for the future of the family.  Indeed, the modern family needs the gifts and charism of both “Martha and Mary” to make it work: Martha in taking care of the physical needs, and Mary in insuring that Christ is in the centre of family life.

Of course, the role of the husband or father in the family is equally important.  I hope the husbands and fathers who are here will continue to do your best in playing your role.

It is my prayer and hope that, as members of the Women’s League celebrating their 44th anniversary, all of you will help one another in strengthening the family, and whenever necessary, to help young couples in the parish to build their families too.  I hope this is not too much a request from me.

Thank you.  God bless you, and enjoy your meal.

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