The Church in Modern Singapore

(1972-2001)

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The Church in Modern Singapore
2001

The Church in Modern Singapore

1972 - 2001

1972
1972

Kuala Lumpur is made an Archdiocese

The political changes in Malaysia and Singapore, along with a rapid growth in the number of Catholics eventually led to significant structural changes in the Catholic Church in this region. Kuala Lumpur was made an Archdiocese as well as the head of a new province consisting of the Diocese of Penang and the new Diocese of Malacca-Johor. The latter was detached from Singapore which remained as an Archdiocese led by Archbishop Michel Olçomendy.

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1974

The Malayan Catholic News was replaced by “The Catholic News”

Having been separated from the Malacca-Johor diocese, the Archdiocese of Singapore now required its own newspaper for the faithful. The Malayan Catholic News was replaced by “The Catholic News”.

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1975

Catholic Junior College (CJC) is set up

Catholic Junior College (CJC) was set up in 1975, to consolidate the pre-university education provided by Catholic religious orders. The Catholic Church had earlier accepted the government’s proposal to participate in establishing junior colleges. CJC began functioning in St Joseph’s Institution, Catholic High School and the Town Convent, before the college building at 129 Whitley Road was completed in June 1976.

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1977

Bishop Gregory Yong takes over as Archbishop

Bishop Gregory Yong from the Diocese of Penang took over Archbishop Michel Olçomendy in February 1977. He was installed as the Archbishop of Singapore on 2 April 1977 at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. He was the first Asian Bishop to head the Church of Singapore.

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1978

The Singapore Pastoral Institute is established

The Singapore Pastoral Institute was established in 1978, with the aim of providing courses in theology to help Catholics better comprehend the Catholic faith. It was blessed and officially opened by Archbishop Gregory Yong in September 1978, with then-Fr Nicholas Chia serving as director. The institute taught lessons on topics like biblical studies, catechetical training. Pastoral courses were also taught.

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1978-1982

3 new Parishes were opened by Archbishop Gregory Yong

Three new Parishes were opened by Archbishop Gregory Yong. The Church of St Stephen was completed on 22 April 1978. The Church of the Holy Cross was opened on 27 April 1980 followed by the Church of Christ the King on 26 September 1982.

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1981

Church of St Joseph (Victoria Street) comes under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Singapore

On 1 July 1981, the Church of St Joseph (Victoria Street), after 95 years of being under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Macau and 154 years of double jurisdiction of the Church in Singapore, came under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Singapore. On 5 July 1981, Archbishop Gregory Yong celebrated Mass at the church.

Diplomatic ties between the Holy See and Singapore were established.  Msgr Renato R. Martino was appointed Apostolic Nuncio in January 1982, serving as the Vatican’s envoy to Singapore with ambassadorial status.

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1985

Mother Teresa of Calcutta visits Singapore

Mother Teresa of Calcutta visited Singapore. At a large gathering held in a stadium, she spoke about her encounters in serving the poor and rejected in Calcutta.
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1986

Pope John Paul II visits Singapore

Pope John Paul II visited Singapore on 20 November 1986, on invitation from the Archbishop. This was the first time a reigning Pope visited Singapore. Crowds of Catholics, non-Catholics and even tourists, amounting to about 70, 000, were at the Mass celebrated by the Pope at the National Stadium. The Pope emphasised Peace and Love in his Homily. In his visit to Singapore, he also met then-Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
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1987

Parish Councils established in all Parishes

Parish Councils were established in all Parishes with the aim of encouraging more participation of the lay people in Church matters.  The councils consisted of lay leaders who helped Priests in parish matters such as events and celebrations.
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1988

The new St Francis Xavier Major Seminary is blessed and opened

The new St Francis Xavier Major Seminary was blessed and opened on 28 January 1988. As seminarians from Singapore faced difficulties getting visas to go to College General, Penang, for their final formation, it was decided that a local major seminary would be built in Singapore. Furthermore, it was desired that priests could spend their entire formation in Singapore, where they would eventually perform their ministry.
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2001

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