CatholicNews gives special mention to priests and Religious celebrating their jubilees this year

Fr Andre Christophe, Paris Foreign Missions

Paris Foreign Missions priest, Fr Andre Christophe, 85, learnt the pipe organ just before entering the minor seminary in 1942.

On June 29, 1955, Fr Christophe was ordained a priest. He became an assistant parish priest in a church located in an industrialised region in the north of France. 

During that time, he also worked in several textile factories and learnt more about the Young Christian Workers (YCW) movement.

After nine years of mission work with YCW, Fr Christophe came to Singapore on March 30, 1964.

He was assigned from 1967-1969 to the Tamil-speaking community at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes (OLOL).

To reach out to blue-collar and migrant workers at OLOL, Fr Christophe took up English and Tamil. In half a year, he could celebrate a Tamil Mass.

While at OLOL, Fr Christophe was also active in the formation of the apostolates for youth, adult and family. Moreover, he was involved in the Christian Family and Social Movement (CFSM).

From 1970-1976, Fr Christophe was posted to the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, and from 1979-1985, he was in the Church of St Michael. During his time in these parishes, he continued to reach out to blue-collar and migrant workers.

Fr Christophe is now a priest-in-residence at St Joseph’s Church (Victoria St). He continues to be involved in CFSM.

Fr Michael Arro, Paris Foreign Missions

Paris Foreign Missions priest, Fr Michael Arro, was ordained on July 3, 1955. After his ordination, he studied Theology in Rome and took a course in English in the United Kingdom.

On June 7, 1957, he was posted to Malaya. 

Shortly after his arrival, Fr Arro taught at the Penang College General from 1960-1961 and 1963-1968.

He also continued studying Mandarin and English in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore respectively.

In 1968, Fr Arro was posted to the Church of the Sacred Heart in Singapore, where he was an assistant parish priest and the diocesan chaplain of the Young Christian Students.

In 1973, he was posted to the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour and was the parish priest. He was also the Regional Superior of the Paris Foreign Missions priests based in Singapore and Malaysia for 29 years.

From 1997-2001, he was parish priest of the Church of St Michael.

He was then posted to the Church of St Teresa in February 2002 and was a parish priest for 12 years.
Even though Fr Arro will be a priest-in-residence at the church from July 1, he is actively involved in Marriage Encounter and Engaged Encounter.

He is also a member of the Archdiocesan Catholic Council for Ecumenical Dialogue.


Carmelite Fr Thomas Michael Curran

Carmelite Fr Thomas Michael Curran, recalled that the boarding school he used to study in had a “strong Catholic atmosphere”.

In 1958, the Irishman joined the Discalced Carmelite Novitiate in Loughrea, a town in Ireland. In 1959, he left the novitiate to go to Dublin, where he spent seven years as a seminarian. He was ordained on Dec 18, 1965.

After his ordination, Fr Curran was sent to Rome, where he spent four years studying Christian Spirituality at the Teresianum, an institution of higher education. He also studied Church History at the Gregorian University.

In 1970, he returned to Ireland, and for the next 14 years, he taught Church History. During this time, he also travelled to USA and Australia where he taught and held retreats.

From 1991, Fr Curran spent three years in Nigeria, Africa, where he was part of building up the diocese and Carmelite order.

Following that, he spent six years teaching in Nairobi, Kenya.

On Sept 29, 1997, Fr Curran came to Singapore. He spent two years at the Church of Sts Peter and Paul, helping out in the planning of its restoration project.

He currently teaches in the seminary, is involved in the prison ministry, and is the spiritual director of the Singapore Archdiocesan Catholic Charismatic Renewal.


Franciscan Friar John-Paul Tan

Friar John-Paul Tan studied at the major seminary in Singapore between 1983 and 1990, and also in Australia’s Yarra Theological Union in 1987.

Of the 25 years that he has been a priest, he has spent 15 years in the parish ministry.

He was an assistant parish priest and parish priest at the Church of St Mary of the Angels.

He shared that he also has “been blessed with the opportunity to be involved with different Commissions at the General Curia [Headquarters] of the Franciscan Order”.

This includes being a member of the Franciscan Custody Council from 1992-2013, the secretary for Formation & Studies (Custody) from 1998-2004, and a consultant of Franciscans International at the United Nations from 2006-2009.

Friar John-Paul has been actively involved in the archdiocese as well.

Between 2002 and 2010, he was the chaplain of the Catholic Lawyers Guild.

From 2011-2013, he was part of the committee of Catholic Bishops’ Conference on Guideline and Protocol for Clerical Sexual Abuse of Minors from 2011-2013. He was also chairman of the Safe Environment for the archdiocese from 2010-2013.

Friar John-Paul has also been archdiocesan chancellor since 2013, a member of the Senate of Priests since 2011 and a member of the board of directors for Caritas Singapore and Catholic Foundation.

Fr Michael Chan, Opus Dei

Opus Dei Fr Michael Chan was ordained on Aug 26, 1990, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Torreciudad near Lourdes.

After his ordination, the Malaysian priest stayed in Spain to complete his doctoral thesis at the University of Navarre while engaging in pastoral practice.

In June 1991, he was posted to Manila, where he served as chaplain to a Students’ Centre of Opus Dei at the University of the Philippines.

The following year, Fr Michael returned to Singapore to help the Opus Dei pastorally and in their spiritual activities.

Over the years, he has been involved with the spiritual formation of young people and students, working people from different walks of life and helping them live out their faith in their daily lives.

He is also a spiritual director in the Legion of Mary, a member of the Priestly Life Commission and the Senate of Priests.

Fr Michael currently lectures at the Catholic Theological Institute of Singapore (CTIS).

Fr Romeo Yu Chang, Scheut Missions

Scheut Missions Fr Romeo Yu Chang, of Filipino-Chinese descent, was ordained a priest on Sept 8, 1990.

After his ordination, he was a missionary in Hong Kong for seven years where he also studied Theology at the Holy Spirit Seminary there.

In 1993, he was recalled and served as the Provincial Treasurer of Scheut Missions in the Philippines. During that time, he finished his Master of Arts in Business Administration at La Salle University.

He then spent a year on sabbatical at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Boston, USA, before coming to Singapore in August 2001.

He was appointed port chaplain at the Stella Maris Catholic Seaman’s Mission at the Church of St Teresa.

Since 2007, he has been the regional Coordinator of the Apostleship of the Sea for East and South East Asia coordinating the maritime apostolate in the region.

Fr Michael Sitaram

Fr Michael Sitaram joined the seminary in 1978 and spent a year in the major seminary in Penang.

While pursuing his seminary formation in Singapore, he was sent to India for a year and was attached to a parish in a slum area.

On Jan 7, 1990, Fr Michael was ordained a priest.

He was posted to the Church of Christ the King for two years where he was assistant parish priest. He was then posted to the Church of St Francis of Assisi for two years.

Fr Michael was appointed youth chaplain in 1993 and was sent to the University of Loyola in Chicago, where he obtained a masters degree in Religious Education and the Youth Ministry. Returning in 1995, he resumed his role as youth chaplain.

From 1997-2002, Fr Michael was a resident priest at the Church of St Francis Xavier.

In 2002, Fr Michael suffered six heart attacks but recovered.

It was “divine providence”, he said, recalling how the doctors at Mount Alvernia Hospital tended to him.

Since Jan 15, 2003, Fr Michael has been the parish priest of the Church of St Vincent de Paul.

Fr William Lim

Fr William Lim was a former student at Montfort Junior and Secondary Schools.

He later entered the St Francis Xavier Major Seminary, Singapore, where he studied Philosophy and Theology for seven years.

On May 20, 1990, Fr William was ordained a priest.

He was appointed assistant parish priest at the Church of the Holy Cross from 1991-1994. He was then transferred to the Church of St Francis Xavier and became an assistant parish priest from 1995-2003.

From 2003-2009, Fr William served as assistant parish priest in the Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace. In 2009, he was parish priest of the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In the same year, he was also appointed to be the spiritual director of the Archdiocesan Divine Mercy Apostolate, Singapore.

On Jan 3, 2011, he collapsed while jogging at the Serangoon Stadium. He was rushed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital and doctors determined that he needed a triple bypass operation.

Due to his health, Fr William Lim has been unable to be involved in any parish ministry.

He is currently on medical leave.

Note: Not all who are celebrating their jubilees are highlighted here as some have declined to be featured.
Compiled by Lorna O’Hara

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