archbishop relics
Archbishop William Goh depositing the relics of St Laurent Imbert and St Jerome Lu into the altar. With him are parish priest Fr Joachim Chang (far left), Fr Ignatius Yeo (second from left) and Fr Valerian Cheong (far right).

By Jared Ng

“After four long years of waiting, the church in Punggol is at last ready,” proclaimed Archbishop William Goh.

He was speaking at the Dedication Mass of the Church of the Transfiguration (COTT) on Aug 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration.

About 1,200 people attended the celebration including Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Chia.

In his homily, Archbishop Goh reminded the congregation that the Dedication Mass “is just the beginning of a greater work to be done.”

The focus now should be the “formation of people.”

“The Church doesn’t exist for itself, it exists for the world, for humanity,” Archbishop Goh

“Everyone has a part to play, whether big or small, in the formation of the Church and its people,” he added.

Noting that many people in the world are seeking “meaning and purpose in life”, Archbishop Goh said that “the Feast of the Transfiguration is an invitation to all of us to radiate the glory of God to these people.”

The fundamental meaning of life can only be found in Christ and the transfiguration of the Lord shows the way, he said.

Archbishop Goh said Catholics must draw strength from the Transfiguration the same way the three apostles, St James, St Peter and St John, did when they saw His glory on Mount Tabor.

After the Liturgy of the Word, Archbishop Goh deposited the relics of St Laurent Imbert and St Jerome Lu into the altar.

St Laurent Imbert visited Singapore in 1821, and was believed to be the first Catholic priest to celebrate Mass in Singapore. The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd also houses a relic of the saint.

St Jerome Lu was a lay catechist in China who was martyred in Vietnam during anti-Christian persecutions.

Archbishop Goh also deposited the relics of St James, St Peter and St John, who followed Jesus up Mount Tabor. These can be seen enclosed in glass reliquaries just below the altar.

A rock from Mount Tabor was also placed together with the relics.

Archbishop Goh then anointed the altar with chrism and incensed it.

three apostles rock
The relics of St James, St Peter and St John, as well as a rock from Mount Tabor, are seen through a glass window below the altar.

The celebration also saw parish priest Fr Joachim Chang leading a procession to the adoration room to place the Blessed Sacrament there.

Later in his address, he described the “monumental task” of building the church and gave thanks to fellow priests, Religious, laypeople and other parishes for aiding the fundraising efforts.

Participants shared with Catholic News their thoughts after the celebration.

“I’ve been attending their monthly Masses prior to the completion of the church and I’m really proud to see the church in its fullest,” said Mr John Low, 68. “Like what archbishop said, I hope now this church can be with the people, for the people,” he added.

Mrs Sophia Lee, who came with her family, said she is looking forward to being apart of the “new Transfiguration community.”

“We’ve been following the progress of the parish and now that it’s been completed and dedicated, we’re really looking forward to being parishioners and getting involved in the activities,” she said.  

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knocking door staff
Archbishop William Goh strikes the church door with his crosier as part of the dedication Mass ceremony.

Transfiguration Church timeline

March 2013:     The archdiocese of Singapore successfully tendered for a piece of land in Punggol.
July 2013:        The name of the church was chosen.
August 2014:    Archbishop William Goh conducts the groundbreaking ceremony.
August 2015:    Fr Joachim Chang is appointed parish priest.
March 2016:     The church kicks off its first monthly Mass at Holy Innocents’ High School.
February 2017: Construction works are completed.
April 13, 2017: The church celebrates its opening Mass on Maundy Thursday.
Aug 6, 2017:    The church celebrates its Dedication Mass.

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