Priests, Religious and laypeople have paid tribute to Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Chia for his leadership of the archdiocese.
“He’s been a father to me,” archdiocesan catechetical director Fr Erbin Fernandez told CatholicNews.
“When I’ve been in difficulties, he personally helped. He’s been much concerned, involved and supportive in many ways. So I owe him a lot.”
Fr Erbin noted that Archbishop Chia has been effective in his organisation of churches’ administrative structures.
Archbishop Chia was also able to state very clearly what the Catholic faith is all about “even though it may not be popular”, said Fr Erbin.
Fr Ambrose Vaz, from the St Francis Xavier Major Seminary, said Archbishop Chia is a “man of prayer” and dedicated to his work. Fr Vaz also noted how Archbishop Chia made the administration of parish finances more systematic.
Sr Angeline Lim said that Archbishop Chia “always makes the effort to make others feel at home and is very hospitable”.
“He is also an astute steward and for this we are truly blessed. Archbishop has always been a great supporter and is very appreciative of the Religious in his diocese,” said the nun from the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood.
“Faithfully every year he will make time to celebrate with the Religious on World Day for Consecrated Life. I admire archbishop for his humility, simplicity and for his servant leadership.
“I wish him good health and a well deserved rest and fruitful retirement.”
Infant Jesus Sr Maria Lau, president of the Inter-Religious Organisation Singapore, said that Archbishop Chia “is a man of deep faith, humble and self-effacing”.
“During his years as the shepherd of the Catholic Church in Singapore, he not only cared for his people but he contributed much to promoting strong interfaith relations, supporting the peace initiatives and efforts to deepen interfaith dialogue at different levels.”
Dr Michael Thio, President General of the International Confederation of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, said he has known Archbishop Chia for more than 35 years and has served with him in committees.
Dr Thio said he finds Archbishop Chia “to be a person of integrity, organised and forthright in his approach to situation and issues”.
As patron of the local Society of St Vincent de Paul, Archbishop Chia has been “very supportive of the society and encourages that more be done for the poor. He is a kind, thoughtful and prayerful person and one who cares.”
For Catholic doctor John Hui, Archishop Chia “was a leader who was dedicated to his flock, and would always make a point to fulfil his pastoral duties, no matter how difficult his physical condition might be”.
“I have always admired his great love for the Eucharist,” said Dr Hui. “I remember soon after he assumed his role as bishop, one of the first things he did was to print out devotional prayer cards for us to pray before and after each Mass.”
The Serra Club of Singapore said Archbishop Chia’s love for his flock “is clearly evident in his constant support and encouragement to the Serra apostolate in fostering and promoting vocations to the priesthood”.
“He is always available to us when we needed his guidance or blessings for any major project undertaken by the club. We just want to say, we love you, Your Grace, you are daily in our humble prayers and we thank the Lord in all our remembrance of you.”