“I am still the same old Fr William Goh, with the same passion and love for Christ and His Church. The office does not change me but I hope I can change the office.”  - Archbishop William GohPlans to spend first year visiting parishes, religious institutions and organisations

“Assuming the Office of Archbishop is something I have never aspired to or even thought of in my pastoral vision,” says Archbishop William Goh, the new head of the Catholic Church in Singapore.

“However, I accept it in humility and in obedience to the will of God and I pray that His grace will be enough to see me through,” he told CatholicNews.

“I am still the same old Fr William Goh, with the same passion and love for Christ and His Church. The office does not change me but I hope I can change the office.”

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop Nicholas Chia on May 18 at noon Rome time or 6 pm Singapore time. Archbishop Goh, who was episcopally ordained on Feb 22, took office the moment his predecessor’s resignation was accepted.

He now operates from the Archbishop’s House at Victoria St.

In an email interview with CatholicNews, Archbishop Goh said, “I will still be that shepherd of Christ that I am called to be, to seek the lost, console the hopeless, heal the wounded, give sight to the blind, reconcile those estranged and build bridges and communion in the Church and with the rest of humanity.”

He said his vision “is to work with my brother priests to renew the faithful and together with the laity, to build a vibrant and evangelical Church so that we will be the face of Christ in a world that is bereft of hope and love”.

He also stressed the need to “reorganise the structures, forums and organs of the Church to improve communication and efficiency for the sake of communion”.

A press release from his office stated that one of his first tasks is to “strengthen the fraternal bonds in the Presbyterium and harness the charisms and passion of his brother priests” so that they can empower the laity to be “co-responsible in the mission of the Church”.

This is especially so in protecting the institution of marriage and the family, promoting interfaith harmony and “reclaiming the Church’s prophetic voice in being a moral spokesman for humanity”, particularly on the universal values of truth and justice, and the promotion of life and the dignity of the poor.

He also stressed the importance of re-evangelising Catholics. “Although there are some 300,000 baptized Catholics in Singapore (including migrants), many do not fully appreciate the beauty and richness of the Catholic faith and what it means to be a disciple of Christ,” he said.

“Many of our youths especially, are unable to find meaning in the faith, because they do not see the relevance of their faith in this secular, rationalistic and relativistic world,” said Archbishop Goh. “We need to help them to encounter Jesus Christ in a personal way.”

Archbishop Goh said he plans to spend his first year visiting parishes, religious institutions and organisations to know better the needs of Catholics, how these organisations are reaching out to people and how they can be better organised and equipped to fulfil their mission.

Archbishop Goh has also named the following as his key office bearers:
● Msgr Ambrose Vaz: Vicar General (Pastoral)
● Msgr Philip Heng, SJ: Vicar General (Administration and Religious)
● Fr John-Paul Tan, OFM: Chancellor
● Fr Erbin Fernandez: Episcopal Vicar for New Evangelisation
● Fr Ignatius Yeo: Executive Secretary to Archbishop
● Deacon Clement Chen: Financial Administrator

Archbishop Goh also called for a special meeting of priests on May 23.

An inaugural and thanksgiving Mass was scheduled for May 24 at the cathedral to mark Archbishop Goh’s succession and to thank God for His care of Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Chia during his term of office.

Archbishop Goh can be reached at: [email protected]

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