Catholics in Singapore will join the entire nation to celebrate Singapore’s golden jubilee in a significant and meaningful way.

The highlight of the celebrations will be a big SG50 Thanksgiving Mass to be held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The date is still being finalised but is expected to be either in July or August.

The two-and-a-half-hour event will see more than 10,000 Catholics from all walks of life congregating at the stadium in prayer, song and celebration to commemorate the nation’s 50 years of independence.

“SG50 is a momentous event in the history of Singapore,” said Archbishop William Goh. “It is a celebration of a people who battled the odds to found a nation; different ancestry, diverse cultures and varied faiths notwithstanding. All that united them was a common vision – to build a better tomorrow.

“This is an occasion for us, as Singaporeans, to give thanks to God for 50 years of blessings, of peace and prosperity, of freedom to practise our faith, and the unity and harmony we enjoy among our peoples, regardless of race, language or religion.”

The theme for the archdiocese’s celebrations is simply, Joy.

Explained Franciscan Friar Derrick Yap, chairman of the organising committee: “Joy captures all the dynamics of the occasion as we celebrate the nation’s 50th anniversary. Internally, as a Church, it is also an event for rejuvenation, restoration and healing where needed, and of looking forward with hope.”

The occasion not only serves as a platform for the Church to celebrate her share in nation-building but also to bring together Catholics here to forge stronger bonds with each other, added Friar Derrick.

“So, come and celebrate together as one big family. And for those who inadvertently feel alienated or hurt by the Church or any of its members, it is an invitation to come home and start anew together. This is part of the pope’s call for new evangelisation where the whole flock participates inclusively in the Church’s life,” he explained.

A multimedia-and-stage production before the Mass will trace the early beginnings of the local Church and another segment after the Mass will showcase the future of the Church.

The cast is expected to feature some members of the clergy and Religious – young and old. It will also include Singaporean singer songwriter Corrinne May, who will compose and perform an original song for the occasion.

“These two segments will be purposeful as well as engaging,” promised Friar Derrick. “But the highlight will still be the Eucharistic celebration, to be led by the archbishop and concelebrated by his priests.”

Fringe activities

Besides the big Mass, a host of complementary activities are also being lined up for Catholics across the island to take part in, including a virtual exhibition on the Church’s involvement in nation building and service to the community in the last 50 years.

Parish groups like the Society of St Vincent de Paul and Kanektas Youth Ministry will also be organising “50,000 Meals for the Poor” and facilitating an initiative called “50,000 Prayers for the Nation”.

In these initiatives, Catholics can look forward to being part of the national celebrations by offering a meal for the poor, a Mass, a fast, a decade of the rosary, or an act of charity for the intentions and well-being of Singapore.

A dedicated Catholic SG50 website for participants to simply “click and offer” these prayers or acts of charity will go live in mid-May. Organisers will give more details in the next issue of the CatholicNews.

One parish that has already launched its own SG50 activity is the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Hougang church is starting a campaign among parishioners to offer 50,000 rosaries to Mother Mary for Her intercession for the nation’s well-being.

Singapore Catholics who were informed of the archdiocese’s SG50 celebrations welcomed the initiative.

Said Mr Jason Sim, a parishioner of the Church of Sts Peter and Paul, “The Catholic Church in Singapore has a history that extends far beyond 50 years and this is an opportunity to also acknowledge the role of the Church in contributing to the society and nation building.”

Ms Angelina Pereira, a parishioner of St Joseph Church (Bukit Timah), thought the broad line-up of activities and events would appeal to different groups of people and allow Catholics to participate “in their own meaningful ways”.

Friar Derrick added, “We encourage all Catholics to gather with family and friends to participate in this milestone event and fringe activities. As Singaporean Catholics, no effort is deemed too small or insignificant in paying tribute to Singapore and helping to sanctify the nation.”

The Church’s SG50 logo
The design rationale:

  1. The word, “Joy” is an expression of celebration.
  2. Joy is a key Christian word, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
  3. The three letters are in progressive perspective, denoting that the word starts with J (Jesus, the source) and ends with Y (You, the recipient).

The three letters are conjoined to project the Church’s participation in fellowship with the nation (represented by the iconic SG50 logo).

Related article: ARCHBISHOP’S MESSAGE: Church and nation building