Archbishop Nicholas Chia, apostolic nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, Coadjutor Archbishop William Goh and 50 priests concelebrated the March 23 Mass.Archbishop Nicholas Chia, apostolic nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, Coadjutor Archbishop William Goh and 50 priests concelebrated the March 23 Mass.

... says Archbishop Chia at Mass to mark Pope Francis’ installation

Pope Francis is “truly an example of simplicity, humility and obedience to the Lord”, said Archbishop Nicholas Chia at a thanksgiving Mass for the new pope’s installation.

The new Church leader will “have to be a tireless pilgrim, spending lots of time and energy travelling to the ends of the earth in service of the new evangelisation, re-proposing the faith of the Church to friends and foes alike”, said Archbishop Chia during the March 23 Mass at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd.

Pope Francis would need to “listen to liberal voices clamouring for radical change, as well as conservative voices condemning all the changes that have taken place in the last 50 years”, said Archbishop Chia.

Apostolic nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli and Coadjutor Archbishop William Goh, together with about 50 priests also concelebrated the Mass in a cathedral that included laypeople, nuns, seminarians, representatives of various religions, and ambassadors and high court judges.

A section of the crowd at the cathedral.A section of the crowd at the cathedral.Archbishop Chia, in his homily, noted that the first Jesuit pope will have lots of problems to solve.

They include the “worldwide [clergy] sex abuse crisis; the declining sacramental practice of Catholics in the Western world; the challenges to traditional moral values especially in human life and traditional marriage; the violent attacks on Christianity in some parts of the world, and the subtle yet real challenge of religious liberty in others”.

Archbishop Girelli addressed the crowd towards the end of the Mass, and noted that the pope chose the name of Francis, after St Francis of Assisi, because of the pontiff’s love for the poor.

Archbishop Girelli said there are still poor people in Singapore despite its affluence. He stressed that “the Church is called to care for those who suffer because of poverty, and strive to make society more humane and more just”.

Several people CatholicNews spoke to after the Mass shared their thoughts about the new pope.

“As a Jesuit and together with the whole Church, we are happy that the Holy Spirit has inspired the cardinals to select this pope especially when it was unexpected,” said Jesuit Fr Colin Tan.

“This is a sign that the Lord is with us in these times of challenge and difficulty in the Church.”

Commenting on the pope’s choice of name, Franciscan friar-in-formation David Au said, “I think the pope has a special message to share with the world through his life example of humility and simplicity.”

Several laypeople say they have high hopes in the new pontiff.

“He seems to be someone who identifies with the common person and I think he’ll lead the Church to a renewal of faith and spirituality,” said Ms Christina Ong.

Ms Pauline Teo shared, “Based on what I’ve read, I think the pope is going to lead the Church into a new evangelisation by his humble and people-centric personality.”

By Martin See
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