SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has congratulated Catholic Archbishop William Goh on his appointment as cardinal in August.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday (June 1), PM Lee noted that Archbishop Goh will be the first Singaporean cardinal, a rank second only to the Pope in the Catholic Church hierarchy.
"This is especially significant to our Catholic community, who marked their bicentennial just last year," Mr Lee wrote.
"Since taking office in 2013, Archbishop Goh has guided Catholics here and actively worked with fellow religious leaders to promote religious harmony, and support the progress of our country.
"I am confident that he will continue to bring his wisdom and humility to his new responsibilities. I wish him every success in his new appointment, and look forward to him making a greater contribution to the church and to the broader community, in Singapore and beyond."
In his own Facebook post on Wednesday, Archbishop Goh called the appointment an honour and "an endorsement of the archdiocese's vision of building a church that is vibrant, evangelising and missionary".
This comes after the Vatican News reported on Sunday (May 29) that Pope Francis will appoint 21 new cardinals during a Consistory - a formal meeting of the College of Cardinals - on Aug 27.
The new cardinals represent the Catholic Church worldwide and reflect a wide variety of cultures, contexts and pastoral ministries, the report added.
There are currently 208 cardinals, including 117 electors who can vote for a new Pope and 91 non-electors.
This number will grow to 229 cardinals, including 131 electors, on Aug 27.
Archbishop Goh will be one of six new cardinals from Asia. There are also eight from Europe, two from Africa, one from North America and four from Central and Latin America.
In response to queries, the Archdiocese of Singapore said Archbishop Goh will be expected to assist the Pope in the task of "governing the Universal Church".
"Cardinal-elect William Goh asks for your prayers so that he can assume this responsibility with humility, wisdom and holiness."