Fr Guillaume Arotçarena, an MEP priest who served in Singapore for 17 years, passed away on Sept 3 after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 71.
Fr Arotçarena was born on May 18, 1944, in Hasparren, France. He was ordained a priest of the Paris Foreign Missions Society (MEP) in 1971 and sent to Singapore the following year. He was appointed assistant parish priest in the Church of St Vincent de Paul from May to September 1972, after which he was sent to Taiwan to study Mandarin.
When he returned, he served in the Church of the Risen Christ (1974-1977) and Church of the Holy Family (1977-1980).
In 1980, Fr Arotçarena was appointed Prison Chaplain. He also founded the Geylang Catholic Centre to provide support and social services to domestic workers, prisoners and drug addicts in Singapore.
After the closure of the centre in 1987, he spent one year at the Church of the Risen Christ until he was called back to France in 1989. In that year, he founded the MEP press agency Eglises d’Asie with UCANews, producing a bimonthly newsletter on religious news in Asia and a monthly supplement.
From 1992 to 1998, Fr Arotçarena served as Assistant Superior General of the MEP. In 2007, he retired in the south of France where he wrote and published a book of his experiences in Singapore, titled Priest in Geylang.
Fr Arotçarena will be buried in the MEP cemetery of Montbeton as he had wished. We invite you to pray for him in your Masses and prayers.
Submitted by the CHANCERY OFFICE