Br. William, a proud son of Singapore, shares the history of the Catholic church in his native land: “When the Apostolic Vicar St. Laurent Imbert arrived in Singapore in 1820, there was a already a small group of Catholics on the island, mainly from China and India. The first chapel was built in 1833 after the arrival of members from the French Missionaries of Paris (MEP). Christian Brothers of De La Salle and Sisters from the Holy Infant Jesus were the pioneers for education, health care and social services. As the Catholic population increased more churches were built. A seminary was built to foster local vocations in 1920. From 1937 to 1940 various groups of religious arrived in Singapore: Gabrielite, Monfort Brothers, Carmelite Sisters, The Little Sisters of the Poor, Good Shepherd Sisters, and Canossian Sisters. After the 2nd World War, the Redemptorists, Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Franciscan Missionaries of Divine Motherhood arrived, and the Jesuits started their mission in 1950.
In 1977 Archbishop Gregory Yong, the first Asian Bishop, who was Malaysian-born, was installed as Archbishop. The first native son of Singapore was Archbishop Nicholas Chia. Singapore’s fourth and current archbishop is Msgr. William Goh. Singaporeans felt truly blessed and rejoiced in August 2022 when Pope Francis raised him to be the first Cardinal of our Church in her 200 years history.
The Catholic population today is 360,000 person and there are 32 parishes with Masses in English, Mandarin, Tamil and various local dialects as well as languages for nationals from other Asian countries.
We pray that the Church in Singapore continues to grow, with more local vocations and to evangelize the entire population in Singapore, a nation of 5.8 million on the island of 280 square miles.
Blessings to all,
Your brothers of New Clairvaux
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