Singapore (Agenzia Fides) - "We have been living with the pandemic for almost two years and we have seen how it has been a universal cause of suffering for mankind. Yet, even in times of greatest darkness, faith communities around the world have been like stars shining in the night sky; they have worked together in unity and solidarity in reaching those in need with closeness and compassion, dispelling the shadows of despair with the light of hope, care and fraternal solicitude": said the Archbishop of Singapore William Goh who praised this work, in the spirit of the encyclical "Fratelli Tutti", especially in contexts where Christians are minorities. In a note sent to Fides, Mgr. Goh underlined that in the time of the pandemic, "all peoples of various faiths must work together, bringing each other hope and support". An occasion to reaffirm this spirit of fruitful collaboration was the recent Hindu festival of 'Deepavali' (festival of lights), celebrated on November 4 by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs in Singapore. Inspired by the central theme of this feast, which "celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, wisdom over ignorance and love over fear", the Archbishop underlined the harmony and common accents which spiritually bind Christians to believers of other religions. Quoting Pope Francis, the Prelate said: "To turn on little lights in people's hearts, to be little lamps of the Gospel that bring a little love and hope: this is the mission of the Christian. The lamp of faith will always be lit on earth as long as there is the oil of prayer". Mgr. Goh stressed that "the festive lights of Deepavali truly remind us of how, in the same way, acts of adoration and devotion to the Divine keep the lamps of faith and the virtues of charity alight and shining (dāna-dharma)".
For this reason, confirming the constant commitment to dialogue and spiritual closeness with people of other faiths, the Prelate expressed the hope that believers of all religious communities promote brotherhood in the city-state of Singapore. May our faith communities continue to inspire and encourage each other to keep their eyes on the sky, to shine together like bright stars to preserve brotherhood and to ignite the light of love in the hearts of our neighbors" , concluded Bishop Goh.
The population of Singapore (5.7 million inhabitants) includes 31.1% Buddhists, 18.9% Christians (including 330,000 Catholics), 15.6% Muslims, 8.8% Taoists, 5% Hindus, 0.6% others, while around 20% of the population declares themselves non-believers (2020 data). (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 8/11/2021)