Catholics in Singapore are overjoyed at former cabinet minister George Yeo’s appointment in a newly-formed Vatican commission.
Pope Francis had written a special document, called a chirograph, on July 18 to establish the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See
This comes after a study of organisational and economic problems plaguing the Holy See and recommendations made to continue the work of introducing reforms in its institutions.
The Singapore Catholic Community “can look with pride on Mr Yeo’s appointment”, said Archbishop William Goh, adding that Mr Yeo’s knowledge and experience would be useful to the commission.
The archbishop said the community has “every confidence” that Mr Yeo, a Church of the Holy Family parishioner, “will make invaluable contributions to the Church … and do us proud”.
Archbishop Goh also noted that Mr Yeo, 58, “is a man of devout faith and has been very supportive of the Church, rendering services generously and in a quiet, unassuming way”.
He pledged the archdiocese’s support to Mr Yeo to “facilitate his carrying out his responsibilities for the Vatican”.
When contacted by CatholicNews about his appointment, Mr Yeo said it was “too early to comment”. He added that his appointment is a “heavy responsibility” and “we should all pray for the commission’s success”.
Mr Yeo is the only Asian appointed to this commission which includes others from France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Malta who are “experts in legal, economic, financial and organisation matters”, according to the Vatican Information Service.
Fr Patrick Goh, parish priest of Church of the Holy Family, told CatholicNews that Mr Yeo “is an unassuming parishioner” who is very much “at home” in the parish.
The St Joseph’s Institution Old Boys’ Association congratulated Mr Yeo, a Josephian (class of 1970), “on his appointment by Pope Francis”.
Messages from Catholics have also poured in on social media including Mr Yeo’s Facebook page and the Catholics in Singapore page.
Ms Angie Wu wrote, “Wonderful, he can now use his gifts and experience to serve God and the Church more fully!”
Mr Patrick Lim said, “What an honour to be in the commission. An honour for our archdiocese and Singapore. It may be a heavy responsibility but it is a testimony of your ability ... I am sure a lot of us will be praying for you.”
Mr Yeo has also studied in St Stephen’s School and University of Cambridge, and holds a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. He was also a President’s Scholar and Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Scholar.
By Darren Boon