Thanksgiving mass marks William Goh's appointment as Singapore's 1st cardinal
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, his wife Mdm Ho Ching and several Cabinet Ministers attended the event at St Joseph's Church.
SINGAPORE: A thanksgiving Mass to mark the appointment of William Goh as Singapore's first cardinal was held on Thursday evening (Sep 8).
Cardinal Goh, the leader of the Catholic Church in Singapore, was among 20 new cardinals from around the world inducted by Pope Francis at St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican in August.
Thursday's Mass at St Joseph's Church was attended by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, his wife Mdm Ho Ching and several Cabinet Ministers.
Twenty-three leaders of various faiths and religious organisations were also in attendance.
Addressing congregants during the homily, Cardinal Goh, 64, described his appointment as beyond his expectation and "a very humbling experience".
Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam told reporters that he has interacted with Cardinal Goh for years, and was struck by his "sincerity, the purity of the person, and his deep passion and desire to serve others".
"In his own typical way, he said a few words just now. He said he doesn't know why he has been appointed a cardinal. I think when you interact with him, we all know why."
Mr Shanmugam said Cardinal Goh was a perfect fit for the direction of the Catholic Church which Pope Francis has continued to set over the years, which emphasises serving the people.
"It is a great and signal honour to Singapore and to him," said Mr Shanmugam. "But I know he doesn't take it as a personal honour, he does it as service."
Cardinal Goh's appointment was "historic" for Singapore, said Minister for Social and Family Development and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli.
"We appreciate the honour that is bestowed to him for his leadership and his commitment to spread harmony, peace among various faiths," said Mr Masagos.
Cardinals serve as the Pope's top advisers and administrators in the Vatican and around the globe, and are second to the Pope in the Catholic Church's hierarchy.
Those below 80 can enter a conclave to elect a new Pope from among themselves, after Pope Francis dies or resigns.