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Singapore: Cathedral of the Good Shepherd

About the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd in Singapore:

Built in 1847, The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Singapore and is the seat of the Archbishop of Singapore.

Established in 1832 by missionaries from the Société des Missions étrangères de Paris, services were first held in the house of Denis Lesley McSwiney until 1833 when a modest wooden chapel on the site of the former Saint Joseph’s Institution (SJI) along Bras Basah Road was completed. As years passed, the chapel became too small and the cornerstone of the present church was laid in 1843. The church, designed by McSwiney, was blessed and opened by Father Jean-Marie Beurel on 6 June 1847. Father Beurel was also responsible for the founding of SJI and the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus.
The Good Shepherd

Saint Laurent Imbert was the first Roman Catholic missionary to visit Singapore in 1821. The dedication of the church to the Good Shepherd stems from the note written by him to his fellow missionaries asking them to join him in surrendering to the authorities to save their flocks from extermination during a period of Christian persecution in Korea. Saint Laurent wrote:

“In desperate circumstances, the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.”

They surrendered and the three of them were beheaded on September 21, 1839. News of this and their martyrdom reached Singapore when a name was being considered for the church and “Good Shepherd” was chosen. Today, the Cathedral houses the relics of Saint Laurent.

The Cathedral’s architecture is reminiscent of two London churches – Saint Paul’s, Covent Garden and Saint Martin-in-the-Fields. Its neo-Palladian porticoes and steeple are its most prominent features. Adorning the interior walls are 14 large antique oil paintings of the Way of the Cross that help the viewer meditate on the final moments of Jesus. The Cathedral also houses Singapore’s oldest pipe organ, a Bevington and Son instrument blessed in 1912.

During World War II, the Cathedral was used as an emergency hospital and continues to be a center for peace and refuge from the buzz of the city today. For its social, historic, cultural and architectural significance, the Cathedral was gazetted a national monument in 1973.

In addition to Masses and confessions, there is an Adoration Chapel open daily until midnight.

Visiting the Cathedral of the Good Shepard in Singapore:

Address: “A” Queen Street, Singapore 188533

Tel:  +65 6337 2036   Fax:   +65 6337 6879(Fax)

Click here for the official website of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd in Singapore.

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