Archbishop William Goh and apostolic nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli distributing communion during the March 13 Mass at St Joseph’s Church, Victoria St. The Mass was to celebrate Pope Francis’ first year in office.

Pope Francis, just like St Joseph, is a man of “fortitude” and “integrity”, and a protector of the Church, Archbishop William Goh told some 1,000 people at a Mass to mark the pontiff’s first anniversary as leader of the Catholic Church.

The Holy Father is a man who has both “pastoral” and “personal authority”, said Archbishop Goh, and urged all to be in union
with Pope Francis and his teachings.  

The archbishop, together with apostolic nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli and seven priests, celebrated the special Mass on March 13 at St Joseph’s Church, Victoria St.

It was part of the church’s triduum celebration for the feast of St Joseph. Among the crowd were knights and dames of the Order of Malta and several foreign delegates.

Speaking during the celebration, which had the theme Patron of the Shepherds of the Church, Archbishop Goh noted that Pope Francis has taken seriously his responsibility to protect the Church from problems both internally and externally.

He said that all members of the Church need to give “allegiance” to the Holy Father’s teachings and be in union with the successor of St Peter.

The papal office is to preserve the unity of the Church, Archbishop Goh said, adding that Pope Francis has also been courageous in making changes in the face of opposition.

The archbishop noted that the pope is pastoral and missionary is his approach, and is in touch with the sufferings of people.
Archbishop Goh urged those present to be as compassionate as Pope Francis.

Before the end of the Mass, Archbishop Girelli told the crowd that Pope Francis’ first year has been “extremely positive”. The pontiff has “impressed the world by his simplicity” and charity as well as his closeness to people, he added.

Mr Gerard Fam, who was present at the evening’s Mass, told CatholicNews that his impression of Pope Francis is that “he is different…he does things quite differently”.

By Darren Boon
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