Fr Robert P. Balhetchet, a diocesan priest in Singapore passed away this morning. He was 76.
Fr Balhetchet was born on 19 August 1939 as the second of two boys. His family attended the Church of the Holy Family in Katong and were familiar with the parish priest, Fr Rene Ashness. It was to Fr Ashness that the young Robert Balhetchet said "I want to be like you." After completing his 'O' Levels in St Joseph's Institution, he expressed the same desire again to Fr Ashness who then brought him to speak with the Superior of the Minor Seminary in Punggol. Fr Balhetchet enrolled in the Minor Seminary in 1954 and was ordained on 26 January 1964.
After his ordination, Fr Balhetchet was appointed Assistant Rector of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. Shortly after, he was sent to Rome to study Vatican II documents on ecclesiology - what it meant to be Church. He was awarded his doctorate at the age of 37 and sent to teach at his alma mater, College General, Penang.
At age 39, Fr Balhetchet was appointed by the late Dr Goh Keng Swee, then Minister for Education and Deputy Prime Minister, to be in charge of preparing the curriculum and teaching materials for a revised national moral education programme. In 1980, still working on the programme, 'Being and Becoming ', Fr Balhetchet returned to Singapore and served as the Rector of the Cathedral. He was also a member of the planning committee behind the building of the St Francis Xavier Major Seminary in Singapore and chaplain of the Carmelite Convent.
When Pope John Paul II visited Singapore in 1986 at the invitation of then President Mr Wee Kim Wee, Fr Balhetchet was the overall coordinator of the Papal Visit Committee.
Fr Balhetchet celebrated his Sacerdotal Golden Jubilee in 2014 at the Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace. His wake will be held at the same parish beginning tonight, 15 March 2016. Please note that the parish gates will be closed at 10.30pm daily. His Grace Archbishop William Goh will preside and preach at Fr Balhetchet's funeral Mass.
|Details of Funeral|
|Date||:||19 March 2016 (Saturday)|
|Venue||:||Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace,
4 Sandy Lane, 437321
Cremation will follow after at 12.30 pm at Mandai Crematorium, Hall 4.
We invite you to pray for him in your masses and prayers.
Chancery of the Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore
Download PDF file: ChanceryNoticeCHN-CN-2016-004.pdf