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Year of the Horse

As much of Asia celebrates Lunar New Year, a reflection from Archbishop Goh of Singapore, on the importance of family and of extending fraternal love to those on the fringes of society.

Chinese New Year is one of the most celebrated occasions in the Lunar Calendar. It is customary for families to gather together during this time of the year to renew familial ties and to reminisce the good old times and to recall the shared experiences that bind us together.

We remember also the sacrifices of our elders and we thank them for bringing us up well, imparting valuable cultural and family traditions to us down the generations, inculcating in us good moral values and being good role models themselves, and most importantly, passing on the faith of our forefathers.In our celebrations, we must remember first and foremost our call to fraternity.

Fraternity is first learned in the family, where a community of brothers and sisters who, bonded by blood ties, grow to accept and care for each other. Our family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children (Evangelii Gaudium, 66).

I encourage you in this time of celebration, to welcome Christ first in your families. Let us strive to imitate the Holy Family of Nazareth, always putting the needs of our brother and sister before our own, submitting to each other out of love for Christ (Eph 5:21).

According to the Chinese zodiac, the year 2014 belongs to the year of the horse. Those born in the year of the horse are supposed to be characterised by their unremitting efforts to improve themselves, are warm-hearted, kind and enduring. Like the horse, let us strive to be persevering in our faith, and be visible signs of Christ’s love and mercy and exemplary to one another, especially in the exercise of justice and charity.

We cannot be brothers and sisters in Christ without first being a brother and sister to each other in our own families.

May we bear witness to others by our love and actions so that others may know that we are Christians by our love (John 13:35). As we share our material abundance with each other, let us remember especially those who have lost their loved ones, the poor and those on the fringes of society. If we can, let us invite them to partake of our family celebrations, so that they, too, will experience the warmth of family in this Chinese Lunar New Year season.

May we be generous in giving back to our families and the communities that we are in, the wonderful gifts that God has blessed us with, for it is in giving that we realise the fullness of all that we have received.

I wish all of you a blessed Lunar New Year!

Yours in Christ,

Archbishop William Goh

Related material:

The Pope: 'Joy and Hope' for the people who celebrate the Lunar New Year (Vatican News)

More messages from Archbishop Goh: Catholic News, Singapore.

More reflections on Lunar New year:

Bishop Ma Daqin: 'Praise God for the graces of 2013, peace and joy for the Year of the Horse' (AsiaNews.it)

Vatican - The Pope: "Joy and Hope" for the people who celebrate the Lunar New Year (Agenzia Fides)

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