Two women wearing protective face masks walk on the street in Singapore. The coronavirus pandemic has caused a funding shortfall for the Catholic Church in the city-state. (Photo: Roslan Rahman/AFP)
The archbishop of Singapore has called for support for the Catholic Church’s charitable work during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Social service and the humanitarian vocation are part of the Gospel,” said Archbishop William Goh in an appeal made during an online Mass.
With public Masses and other services suspended because of the pandemic, church fundraising has taken a hit, Asia News reported.
Archbishop Goh called on the faithful to help the community and people facing difficulties, especially those affected by the Covid-19 outbreak such as the unemployed and those suffering from depression or financial problems.
The pandemic has caused a drop in private donations that are crucial to charities in one of the most developed countries in Asia.
The cash crisis has not just affected Christians in Singapore.
The Hindu Sri Krishnan Temple, which is celebrating 150 years of activity, has seen collections falling by 45 percent between January and March compared with last year. The Taoist Choa Chu Kang Temple has not been able to raise funds since it was closed on March 27.
After Catholic leaders put Masses on hold in February, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul saw its donations fall by 90 percent. In response, it launched an online fundraiser targeting Singapore’s 400,000 Catholics.
Society president Florence Tan said the online project raised US5,000 to fund its charitable work, particularly help for victims of Covid-19’s economic fallout. More than 2,000 families in need have received aid.
The Methodist and Baptist Churches are also in difficulty.
“Those who can should help people in difficulty,” said Archbishop Goh, urging those who “have some extra money to be generous and visit the archdiocese's website to make a donation, each according to their possibilities.”
Since activities promoted by the Singapore Church depend on funds raised during Masses, celebrations and community initiatives have been suspended.