During the Dedication of the Cathedral and 2-week celebration, you probably have noticed a lot of colourful banners, vestments and liturgical items being used during Mass and at the events.  In this post, Alex Yam shares the meaning, significance and story behind some symbolic items prepared for the Dedication.

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Archbishop William Goh presented a 1847 commemorative brick to DPM Teo Chee Hean , the brick comes from the wall and column of the old Cathedral and is sturdy and well-made, a testament to the quality of workmanship from the first church building.

Inscribed on the brick memento is this quote from Isaiah 28:16 – “Now I shall lay a stone in Zion, a granite stone, a precious corner-stone, a firm foundation-stone: no one who relies on this will stumble.”

Thank you to the wonderful carpenters from WorkInterior for rushing the order in time for this evening’s Dedication. About 2000 brick fragments were recovered and are available for purchase as souvenirs. It was quite an eye-opener for me to work with such old bricks of excellent quality


The Evangeliary used on the night of the Dedication of the Cathedral is made in the Greek Catholic style and features enamel medallions of the life of Christ and the evangelists.

It is a replica of that used by the Papal Household.

On the front is the medallion of the Resurrection and on the back, the Crucifixion. Around the medallions are white sapphires.

Another Evangeliary which will be used on Feast days and Sundays features Christ Pantocrator in a Spanish style and hand-enameled borders.

While the covers are well-made and precious, the true treasure lies in the Word of God. “For wisdom is better than jewels; And all desirable things cannot compare with her.” – Proverbs 8:11


The gold vestments (chasuble, dalmatic and stoles) worn during the dedication celebration by His Excellency the Nuncio, Deacon Clement and the Concelebrants were made by the amazing team at Firma ALBA from Poznan. They are also responsible for all of the liturgical vestments for the Cathedral including the copes and humeral veils


His Grace’s vestments took 5 months to plan and embroider.

The mitre preciosa is a recreation of the 1854 mitre of Pope Blessed Pius IX and features the Christ as the Good Shepherd at the front and the Immaculate Conception at the back.

On the lappets are the arms of the Archdiocese. Sewn by hand by the artisans of Zygzak Pracownia Haftu Artystycznego in Reda, north-west Poland.

The Mitre of Blessed Pius IX is connected to our Cathedral for 3 reasons:
1. Blessed Pius IX was the reigning Pope when the Cathedral was first consecrated
2. The Good Shepherd motif on the mitre is the patron protector of our Cathedral, and,
3. Our Archdiocese is consecrated to Our Lady the Star of the New Evangelisation who was Immaculately Conceived, a key dogma of Blessed Pius IX.

The Gothic gold chasuble is made by Urbanowicz Haft based in Wrocław, Poland and also features an embroidered image of the Good Shepherd.


It was humbling to have been entrusted by Rector Monsignor Philip Heng S.J. with the order for the Monstrance for the Adoration Chapel. By God’s Providence, I met Msgr. Philip at the Catholic Foundation dinner at the Cathedral Annex a few months ago, by Divine Providence again I had just returned from Kraków, Poland where I had met a number of eminent church artisans. Thus was born the Trinity Monstrance that will hold the Blessed Sacrament.

For our non-Catholic friends, a Monstrance is a sacred vessel traditionally used to hold the Eucharist, or consecrated host, which for Catholics is the real presence of Christ. Monstrance comes from the Latin word monstrare which means “to show” and is used for Eucharistic Adoration or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

The symbolism of the Trinity Monstrance is manifold, it measures 111cm from base to tip of the cross, each (1) referring to each member of the 3-in-1. At the base of the cross is an image of the Father, at the base of the luna is the Dove representing the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Sacrament itself the True Presence of the Son. Thus the Father sends the Son and the Son sends the Spirit (Jn 14:16-17, 23).

The 3 sunburst again reference the Trinity and the 5 layers around the Luna refer to the 5 Sacred Wounds of Christ which are the source of our salvation and healing just as the Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life (Is 53:5, 1 Peter 2:24). The sunburst itself symbolize the glorification of Christ in the Eucharist, He who is our Daybreak (Lk 1:76-79), our Great Light (Mt 4: 15-16) and our Light from Light (Jn 1:1-5).

Around the Luna are 12 rubies (Ex 28:17, Jb 28:18, Prv 3:15, 8:11), each presenting one of the Twelve Apostles who were the closest disciples of Our Lord (Matt 10:1-42).

6 angels adore the Blessed Sacrament around the Luna, the 6 representing the 6 times Christ was asked to prove His Sonship and Godship by signs (Matt 12:38, 16:1, Mk 13:4, Lk 11:16, Jn 2:18, 6:30), which finds fulfillment in the True Presence, it also references the 6 who in Holy Scripture stated His innocence from any crime or charges (Lk 23:14, 23:15, 23:41, 23:47, Matt 27:3, 27:19).

At the middle of the stem is the traditional representation of the True Vine (Jn 15:1-17). At the base of the Monstrance and around the Luna as well are 10 blue enamel scallop shells, representing all of us as a pilgrim church and man’s responsibility to keep the commandments (Matt 19:17).

Guided by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM 328), the entire Monstrance is silver-gilt plated with gold, precious metals as vessels fitting unto honour and for the worship of God (Ezra 5:14, 2 Tim 2:20).



Text and photos by Alex Yam