Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
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The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd stands at the junction of Queen Street and Bras Basah Road. Built between 1843 and 1847, it is the oldest surviving Catholic church in Singapore and is today the seat of the Catholic Archdiocese and Archbishop. The Cathedral was gazetted as a national monument on 28 June 1973.
Raffles gave land at Bras Basah to the Catholic Church as early as 1822. However, it was only with the arrival of Father J. B. Boucho in 1832 that the first Catholic chapel was built there. The wood-and-attap construction was built at a cost of $700, with the money raised through public subscription. The old site at No. 3 Bras Basah Road was later converted into a school that became St Joseph's Institution (now the Singapore Art Museum).
In February 1843, a dynamic French priest, Father Jean-Marie Beurel, managed to convince the colonial government to provide the Catholic mission with a plot of land diagonally opposite, at the corner of Queen Street and Bras Basah Road. The plot became the location for the Church of the Good Shepherd. The foundation stone was laid on 18 June 1843 by John Conolly, a merchant resident in Singapore.
The architect Denis Lesley McSwiney apparently competed with John Turnbull Thomson for the design of this new church, with McSwiney's design chosen because his had been cheaper. It was built at a cost of just over $18,000, in Renaissance style with the traditional cruciform plan and Roman Doric pillars. Shortly after the completion of the church, Father Beurel blessed it on 6 June 1947.
In 1847, the distinguished water colourist, Charles Alexander Dyce, added a tower and spire that were modelled after the J. T. Thomson spire of St Andrew's Church nearby. Antwerp marble paving was added in 1860 and the nave extended in 1888. The Archbishop's Residence was designed by Father Charles Nain.
In 1888, with the growing Catholic population in Singapore, the church was raised to the status of a cathedral. On 14 February 1897, the Bishop of Malacca, the Reverend Rene Fee consecrated the church after all bills were settled. The relics of St. Laurent Imbert, the first priest to visit Singapore (later martyred in Korea), are preserved in the Cathedral.
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(Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW)
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(Call no.: SING 726.095957 LEE)
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(Call no.: RSING 725.94095957 LIU)
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(Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE)
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(Call no.: RSING 282.5957 WIJ)
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(Call no.: RSING 363.69095957 CAT)
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(Call no.: RCLOS 722.4095957 PMBSR
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(Call no.: RSING 959.57 WAN)
The information in this article is valid as at 2010 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
Architecture and Landscape>>Building Types>>Religious Buildings
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Catholic church buildings--Singapore