THE FUNERAL OF Archbishop Emeritus Gregory Yong spoke volumes about the man and bishop, said 88-year-old Kitty Fogh, a fellow resident at St. Joseph’s Home, where the late archbishop lived since October 2004 until his death on Saturday Jun 28 at 2.40pm.

Thousands attended the funeral Mass held at Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, including many archbishops and bishops, and more than 200 priests and religious. They filled the church – there wasn’t even standing space left inside – and spilled into the church grounds.

Archbishop Nicholas Chia was the main celebrant at Mass. During his homily, he comforted the relatives of the late archibishop and the congregation, saying that "his death fills us with sorrow, but at the same time, because of our faith, we rejoice that he passed away peacefully and we believe he has gone to his eternal reward."

"Our love and remembrance of him should spur us on to carry his mission to live out his faith," said Archbishop Chia.

Archbishop Emeritus’ nephew, Bernard Yong, delivered the eulogy. He described Archbishop Yong as "a very rich man, not in terms of money because he doesn’t have a cent to his name, but in terms of family and friends".

Mr Yong spoke about his uncle’s frugality – he loved to eat at hawker centres because the food is "good and cheap" – and about his generosity with family and friends – he once bought $2,000 worth of Bibles to give away.

"He was a caring, humble man of God who always told us to live life characterized by humility, prayerfulness and repentance," Mr Yong said. Mr Yong thanked Archbishop Nicholas Chia and Father Adrian Anthony of the cathedral for the grandeur of the funeral Mass. He said, "I’m sure my uncle did not expect such a grand sendoff but he’ll be glad it happened. Not because of the grandeur but because of the thought."

He thanked the St. Joseph’s Home too for taking good care of his uncle. In conclusion, he said, "My uncle had a very rich and fulfilling life. He ran a good race to the finish. He fought a good fight. And at the end, he kept his faith with the Almighty to whom he dedicated his life."

Mourners at the funeral Mass stayed to see their late shepherd off despite the heat and the threat of rain. Only after the body of the late archbishop had been taken in procession around the cathedral and then to the Mandai cematorium did they disperse, with many going to the crematorium to bid their final farewell. -By Joyce Gan

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