Singapore’s Cathedral of the Good Shepherd was rededicated on Tuesday, (14 February) in a solemn celebration after a three-year restoration, following extensive damage caused by work on the city’s Mass Rapid Transit.
The city’s oldest Catholic church saw its former glory restored on
the 120th anniversary of its consecration, on 14 February 1897.
Archbishop William Goh Seng Chye led the ceremony together with two
vicars-general Mgr Philip Heng, rector of the cathedral, and Mgr Ambrose
Vaz, along with Mgr Francis Lau, at the start of 12 days of special
events involving Singapore’s entire Catholic community.
The solemn rite of dedication began with the entrance of the
celebrants. The priests then proceeded to sprinkle holy water on the
cathedral, participants (the spiritual temples), the walls, and finally
After the Liturgy of the Word, participants sang the Litany of the
Saints, followed by the placing on the altar of the relics of Saint
Laurent Imbert martyr, and Saint Francis Xavier.
Following the anointing
with chrism, the altar was incensed, adorned and illuminated.
Once the altar was set, the celebrants officiated the first
Eucharistic ceremony, apex and main part of the ceremony of dedication.
The approximately 2,000 invited guests included Deputy Prime Minister
Teo Chee Hean, Labour Minister Lim Swee Say, some members of
parliament, Council of Presidential Advisers chairman JY Pillay, and
Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon.
Declared a national monument in 1973, Singapore cathedral was built
by missionaries from the Société des Missions étrangères de Paris (MEP),
who laid the first stone of the original building in 1832.
The current building has the form of a Latin cross and is in
neo-classical style. It was completed in 1847 by Fr by Father Jean-Marie
Beurel, and expanded in 1888, when it became a cathedral.
It is home to the oldest pipe organ in Singapore built in 1912 and restored with the building.
During the restoration work (2013-2016), the original cornerstone
laid in 1843 was recovered when the pillars at the rear of the Cathedral
collapsed due to tunnelling work under the building. It is now
available for viewing.
Speaking about the reopening of the cathedral, Archbishop William Goh
said, “With the restoration of the Cathedral, my hope is that even as
she continues to serve the foreign communities, she must help all
Catholics in Singapore to truly identify themselves with her as the
Mother Church. It is my hope one day [that] our Catholics in the
Archdiocese will be more united in mission.”
"The Cathedral must reclaim its status as the Mother Church by being a
centre for all Catholics to come together. She must be a model Church
in the celebration of the liturgy according to the Roman Rite, where all
participate actively and fervently in prayer and worship.
“[T]his way, foreign visitors to the Cathedral will have an
experience of the richness and lively faith of the local Church. She
should also strive to be a nerve centre for the Catholic community in
Singapore, like a Mother gathering her children together and nurturing
For the video, click here.