Festival closes Singapore Church’s 200th anniversary

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Catholics in Singapore will mark the close of the year-long celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the Church’s presence in the city-state with a week-long festival.

The bicentennial celebrations, known as the Catholic200SG Festival, will begin on December 4 and end with simultaneous masses in all 32 Catholic churches in Singapore on December 11, according to a press release from the Archdiocese of Singapore.

The church will organize around 100 activities in the Cathedral district of Bon-Pasteur, Saints Peter and Paul Church on Queen’s Street, Saint-Joseph Church on Victoria Street and the Catholic Center on Waterloo Street – the area collectively designated as the Mission District.

Activities are grouped into arts, community, discussion and spiritual, which offer something for everyone from young people to adults and families to religious, with the aim of showcasing what it is to be Catholic in Singapore.

Father Valerian Cheong, co-chair of the Catholic200SG steering committee, said that the organization of jubilee activities in the Mission district is of great relevance.

“We wanted to bring the activities to this part of the city because this area is of great importance to us,” said the priest.

The Singapore Church began the jubilee year on December 13 last year with a virtual mass celebrated by Archbishop Goh

The Mission District is the very heart of the nascent but growing Catholic community that took root when Singapore began to thrive on trade, he said.

It is in this same part of the city that various groups of Chinese dialects, Indian and European communities came to pray and help each other in difficult times. It is also the district where many Catholic schools were founded, he added.

On the last day of the festival, Archbishop William Goh of Singapore will celebrate main mass at 6 p.m. in the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, the oldest Catholic church in the country. The simultaneous ringing of church bells across the island for one minute will mark the close of the Jubilee Year.

Among the dignitaries attending the anniversary mass will be Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The apostolic nuncio, Mgr Marek Zalewski, will concelebrate at mass.

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The Singapore Church began the Jubilee Year on December 13 last year with a virtual mass celebrated by Archbishop Goh. A special jubilee website and logo were launched and a documentary on the social impact of the Catholic Church in Singapore was shown.

The theme of the Jubilee Year, “Igniting and Shining with Faith,” focused on the pastoral vision of the Archdiocese of Singapore to shape a more dynamic, evangelizing and missionary church.

The events focused on the renewal of the faith of the Catholic community through four aspects: deepening, discerning, witnessing and celebrating.

Archbishop Goh said this historic milestone is an opportunity to galvanize Catholics for the past, present and future.

“We want to celebrate with gratitude and thanksgiving how far we have come. We must give our Catholics the means to be alive in their faith and to evangelize. And we should all inspire us to work for a future where humanity and creation will find their fulfillment in God ”, declared the prelate.

The date of Father Laurent’s arrival in Singapore is historically known as the start of the Catholic Church in Singapore.

Singapore was a Malay fishing village when it was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles, who made it a British colony in 1819. Soon after, Catholic missionaries arrived and the Catholic Church is credited with vital contributions to the nation building through education, health care and social protection. .

Saint Laurent Marie Joseph Imbert (1796-1839), French Catholic priest of the Society of Foreign Missions of Paris (MEP), landed in Singapore from France on December 11, 1821, for missionary missions in Penang (Malaysia) and in China.

He was martyred on September 21, 1839 in Korea, for refusing to reveal the whereabouts of other foreign missionaries during a period of Christian persecution in the country. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II in Seoul on May 6, 1984.

The date of Father Laurent’s arrival in Singapore is historically known as the start of the Catholic Church in Singapore.

Singapore is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic nation with an estimated population of 5.6 million. Most Chinese are Buddhists and most Malays are Muslims. Christians make up about 15 percent of the population.

The Archdiocese of Singapore has 360,000 Catholics in 32 parishes.

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