Cathedral of the Good Shepherd

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Time Required : Less than 1 hour

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Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, Singapore Overview

Cathedral of the Good Shepherd is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Singapore located in the Museum Planning Area within the Civic District. Founded in 1832 by the Paris Foreign Missions Society, it is a designated National Monument of Singapore. The Cathedral lies between the parallel Queen and Victoria Streets and resembles the dazzling London's St Paul's Church and St Martin-in-the-Fields architecturally. The church holds services including Weekday Masses, Anticipation Masses, Sunday Masses and Confessions.

The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd is the church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore and the seat of the archbishop, that is the bishop of the highest rank. Currently, the Archbishop of the cathedral is Most Rev William Goh Seng Chye, and Msgr Philip Heng, SJ acts as the Rector. The construction of the church was done between 1844 and 1847, and it was restored between 2013-2016.

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Mass Timings

Saturday: 6:00 PM
Sunday: 8:30 AM, 10:30 AM, 1:00 PM and 5:30 PM
Monday – Friday: 1:15 PM, 6:30 PM
First Friday of every month: 7:30 PM
Anticipation Mass: 6:00 PM
Confessions: Weekdays: 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), Weekends: 30 minutes before the mass (based on the availability of the priest)

Architecture of Cathedral of the Good Shepherd

Cathedral of the Good Shepherd is inspired by the Renaissance architectural style. The edifice is surrounded by Tuscan columns with decorative details. The church steeple was designed by Charles Andrew Dyce featuring two different sections with a cross on top. The first section has a square base while the second section has an octagon base.

The church flaunts six entrances. However, one is closed to the common public. The inner sanctuary is one of the many highlights and houses a crucifix adorned with mosaic tiles. There are doors on both sides of the sanctuary that leads to the room where sacred vessels are kept for worship. The timber ceiling is beautifully ornamented with unique patterns and shimmering lamps that hang down from the centre.  Originally, Victorian chandeliers hung down the ceiling that has been replaced in the present time.

Cathedral of the Good Shepherd in Singapore
Statue of the Virgin Mary and Glorious Cross on the grounds of the Cathedral (Source)
The Cathedral also features countless windows that help in proper ventilation. Common people are not allowed to enter the gallery that contains the Gallery Organ. Statues of Virgin Mary and Pope John II can be found near the main entrance. After the restoration work in 2016, the statue of Homeless Jesus stands erected in the west end and the statue of Good Shepherd has been moved to the basement. Other buildings that stand within the complex include The Cathedral Rectory, Archbishop’s House, The Jean Marie Beurel Centre and the Resident’s Quarter.

Cathedral of the Good Shepherd Singapore
Entrance at the south transept (Source)

Cathedral Heritage Gallery

Cathedral Heritage Gallery is located on the first floor of the JM Beurel Centre. Guided tours are conducted every 4th Saturday of the month.

Timings: 10 AM – 7:30 PM

Historical Significance

In 1832, a small chapel was built to be the first permanent roman catholic house of worship in Singapore. It was located on the site of the former Saint Joseph's Institution buildings. A few years later, the chapel was realised to be too small for the number of people coming in, so the church of the Good Shepherd came into existence.

Father Jean-Marie Beurel, who was the Parish Priest at the time, proposed the site bounded by Victoria Street, Bras Basah Road and Queen Street for the church and it was accepted. In 1888, the church was elevated to the status of a cathedral. The consecration ceremony was performed in 1897. Architectural improvements were made gradually to the cathedral to make it the way it is today. It was gazetted as a Singapore national monument in 1973.

Cathedral of the Good Shepherd at Night
Night shot of the Cathedral (Source)

How to Reach Cathedral of the Good Shepherd

The Cathedral is situated close to both the National Museum and the National Library. To reach by MRT, get off at either the Bras Basah Station or City Hall Station. The Cathedral is within walking distance from both.

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