Singapore, 22nd February 2013 – The Apostolic Nuncio to Singapore, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli will preside at the Mass for the Episcopal Ordination of Monsignor William Goh as the Coadjutor Archbishop of Singapore. He will be assisted by Archbishop of Singapore Nicholas Chia, and Archbishop Murphy Pakiam from Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). The Ordination will be held on 22nd February at 7.30 pm at the Singapore Expo (The Max Pavilion and Expo Hall 9).

The Ordination will be witnessed by the President  and Mrs Tony Tan Keng Yam, who will be joined by other dignitaries including Deputy Prime Minister and Mrs Teo Chee Hean, Members of Parliament, the President and members of the Inter-Religious Organisation, the clergy, religious and laity from Singapore and around the region.

On Saturday, 23rd February 2013, at 10.30am, Prime Minister and Mrs Lee Hsien Loong, as well as Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Lawrence Wong, will attend an Official Reception at the Catholic Spirituality Centre at Upper Serangoon Road, together with other VIPs.

Meanwhile, the Mass is expected to attract a capacity crowd of about 14,000 people from across the Catholic community in Singapore. This historic milestone in the calendar of the Singapore Catholic church comes close on the heels of the Vatican’s announcement of Msgr William’s appointment on 29th December, 2012 as the Coadjutor Archbishop

Mgsr William, who is the fourth and current Rector of St Francis Xavier Major Seminary in Singapore, was ordained as a priest on 1st May, 1985 by the late Archbishop Gregory Yong at the Church of the Holy Family. During his 27 years of service as a priest he has distinguished himself as a visionary and change-agent, turning around not just the culture of organisations especially the way seminarians are formed but also the lives of thousands through the Conversion Experience Retreats that he conducts. He is also a persuasive homilist and convincing teacher, drawing large audiences to the weekly spiritual growth talks that he conducts at the Catholic Spirituality Centre and the daily scripture reflections he posts on its website. Hence, the wide interest among many who will come to witness the Mass for the ordination of Msgr William. Among qualities attributed to him are that he is a people’s priest; one who is at once passionate about his ministry and the Church yet compassionate with all those who are wounded and in need of spiritual, emotional and psychological healing. Notwithstanding the many demands on his time, he is always ready to make time for others, often at the expense of his own comfort. He is a unifying figure who firmly subscribes to the Principles of St Augustine of unity in essentials, diversity in non-essentials but in all things, charity.

Msgr William, in sharing his thoughts on his new role said: “I see a powerhouse of bubbling enthusiasm, grace and talent among the Presbyterium and Laity (particularly the youth) that can be harnessed and unleashed to propel the Church forward in this new millennium. Together, we must find new and creative ways to catechize our youth, who are looking for a faith that is personal, real and tangible.  We must harness modern technology to influence the values of society. We must also give greater attention to the family and married life, which is under threat by a world that no longer believes in the sanctity and indissolubility of the Sacrament of Matrimony.  We must protect the institution of the family, which is the first cradle for Catholic spirituality.  The Church must reclaim its voice in influencing world views, without fear, particularly with respect to the universal values of truth and justice. We must continue to steadfastly resist the lure of secularism and relativism which threaten to suppress the voice of God by working assiduously in the areas of inter-religious dialogue and ecumenism. Unless religions unite, faith will be relegated to the private domain of an individual’s life, thereby weakening the impact of religions on society and morality.”

Notwithstanding the issues at large, Msgr William said, “What I hope for above all in my episcopacy is to be both an encouraging and supportive brother to my priests, empowering them in their ministry, and a compassionate and caring father to the laity. We must, therefore, work to becoming a vibrant, faith-filled, visionary and evangelical Church and not be complacent or satisfied with a maintenance Church. This will be achieved not only by me, nor the clergy, religious or just the laity, but together as the entire People of God in unity. Hence, ‘passion’ and ‘compassion’ will be the hallmarks and thrust of my ministry in renewing the Church in Singapore.”

The Ordination Mass
The Ordination Mass will be preceded by half an hour of Praise and Worship at 6.30 pm.

The Episcopal Ordination Mass begins with the procession of Bishops and Priests, followed by the Greeting, Penitential Rite, the Gloria, the Collect and the The Liturgy of the Word.

This will be followed immediately by the Rite of Ordination, when the Elect is presented. The Apostolic Letter is then read and the Consent of the People given. His Excellency, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, will then deliver a Homily, after which the Elect will make his Promise, followed by the Laying on of Hands on the candidate.

Following this will be the Prayer of Consecration, Anointing of the Bishop’s head and Presentation of the Book of Gospels before the Investiture. During the investiture ceremony, the newly-appointed Bishop will be presented with his ring, the mitre and crozier. The newly ordained Coadjutor Archbishop will then be led to the Seat of Bishop and embraced by the Bishops in a Kiss of Peace.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist will follow, where there will be an Offertory Procession, Holy Communion and Solemn Blessing.

A 322-strong combined church choir from the 31 parishes in Singapore will be in attendance to provide the sacramental music. In addition, 579 lay volunteers drawn from parishes across Singapore will serve in various capacities as altar servers, wardens, ushers, security, public relations and other duties. The Episcopal Ordination Mass will be concelebrated by 17 bishops and 151 priests from Singapore and the region.

As Coadjutor Archbishop

Msgr William will be the second Singapore-born clergyman to hold the office of Archbishop. The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd will be the seat of Coadjutor Archbishop William when the current Archbishop Nicholas Chia retires. Thereafter, Archbishop William will lead the flock of 31 churches (28 parish churches and 3 non- parish churches).  As at October 2012, there are 71 diocesan priests, 71 religious priests, 35 religious brothers and 166 sisters serving the people in different capacities, from parish priests, counsellors, social workers to teachers and nurses.

The Catholic population in Singapore is approximately 303,000, which includes permanent residents and foreigners living and working here.

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For further information, please contact:

1)   Sunny Wee
Media Liaison
The Organising Committee
Episcopal Ordination, Mass and Reception
Email:   [email protected]

2)  Magdalene Lee
Media Liaison
The Organising Committee
Episcopal Ordination, Mass and Reception
Email:  [email protected]