The Republic’s oldest Roman Catholic church, the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, will celebrate its 120th anniversary on Tuesday (Feb 14).
The white-and-dark-yellow national monument on Queen’s Street was consecrated as a cathedral on Feb 14, 1897, but its history stretches beyond that to 1832 – the year it was established by missionaries from the Paris Foreign Missions Society.
Its main church building, which is still around today, was completed 170 years ago.
As part of Tuesday’s celebration, Archbishop William Goh will re-dedicate the premises as its altar was replaced during the three-year major restoration which started in 2013, said a spokesperson from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore. The neo-classical style building was reopened to the public only in November.
Also to be presented on Tuesday will be the church’s original cornerstone, which was laid in 1843 and found in January 2016 when the pillars at the rear of the cathedral collapsed due to tunnelling works under the building, the spokesperson added. The stone, which had a cross inscribed, was extracted on Jan 19 this year.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will be the guest of honour at the anniversary event.
In 2021, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese will celebrate 200 years of Catholicism in Singapore, based on the year the first Catholic priest stepped foot in Singapore to survey Catholics living here. He was Fr Laurent Imbert, who wrote in a letter dated Dec 15, 1821, that there were "12 or 13" Catholics that seemed to "lead a wretch life".