SINGAPORE - The Cathedral of Good Shepherd was once again filled with the voices of Catholics singing hymns and music from its restored 1912 Bevington and Sons organ, Singapore's oldest-working pipe organ, on Sunday (Nov 20).
The mother church of Singapore's Roman Catholics hosted its first mass after a massive three-year long restoration project.
The 173-year-old building played host to hundreds of worshippers in a mass led by Archbishop William Goh.
In his address, the archbishop acknowledged the contributions of the cathedral's former rector Father Adrian Anthony, the priest who started and led the restoration effort from the get-go, and Monsignor Philip Heng, who saw it through after the former fell ill.
Archbishop Goh said: "Many people have contributed to restore this church - (the) rich, poor, influential, with all kinds of resources. To restore the church was truly a very daunting challenge that we had to face."
The cathedral initially struggled to raise money for its $40 million restoration. Eventually, funds started streaming in following efforts from within the archdiocese.
Highlights of the project include a new floor, restored windows, air-conditioning, and a new foundation for the national monument.
Underground works in the vicinity, such as the construction of the Circle Line and Singapore Management University, had caused its original underground boulders to shift.
This led to the uneven settlement of the building, with cracks forming across the building.
The mass today also included the laying of a time capsule and commemorative stone by the archbishop.
The capsule included a book on the cathedral's history, commemorative SG50 coins, and newspaper articles, including those from The Straits Times on the progress of the restoration and the discovery of a time capsule from 1843
Devotee Mr Fredrick Gomes, 82, who has been attending the cathedral since he was a child, said that the experience has improved. "The music and the choir was especially majestic. It was a wonderful mass."
The archbishop added: "Now that this cathedral is restored, the more important work is to be done and that is to restore the people of God. The cathedral is only a building; it's only a means. What is important is to build the interior lives of the people of God."