The restoration work was completed in November 2016. The cathedral’s dedication will be marked by 12 days of celebration. Many government officials were present at the event. Singapore’s oldest Catholic church has a long history. For Archbishop William, it is true image of the “Mother Church."
Singapore (AsiaNews) – 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 the altar.
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 them.”
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