Archbishop William Goh and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong both stressed the importance of values in the formation of students during events to mark Catholic High School’s 80th anniversary.
The school is what it is today because of “strong moral and spiritual formation”, said Archbishop Goh during an Oct 13 thanksgiving Mass held on the school premises in Bishan.
If students “don’t have moral and spiritual formation, they can be very successful in their life, they can be brilliant in studies, they can be people who can do great things, but it is all for themselves”, he said. “It is not for the good of society, or for the good of humanity.”
Speaking to secondary school students and teachers and referring to the SG50 celebrations, Archbishop Goh asked, “When you celebrate SG100, what kind of Singapore will it be...what kind of values will you invite?”
He noted that the values being promoted in the world today are “secularism, relativism, materialism, and individualism”.
However, “Singapore is what it is today because there were good people, intelligent people who were willing to sacrifice their own convenience and luxury, for the sake of the greater good of society”.
Archbishop Goh together with Fr Henry Siew and Opus Dei Fr Joe Lopez celebrated the Mass in the secondary school hall, while Fr Peter Koh, Paris Foreign Missions priest Fr Paul Ngo and Redemptorist Fr Simon Tan celebrated another Mass held concurrently for the primary school.
After Mass, principal Magdalen Soh invited the archbishop to the primary school hall to meet the students, and brought him on a tour of the school chapel and gallery which features the school’s history.
The celebration also included the creation of a wall mural, and students have been asked to paint their aspirations for themselves, their school and Singapore.
During the event, Archbishop Goh painted a portion of the school crest which would form part of the mural.
Secondary school students and teachers also gathered in the school plaza and formed the letters and numerals “CH80” to commemorate the anniversary.
Sharing their feelings about the celebration with CatholicNews, Sec 4 student Anthony Cheang said he felt the anniversary was “a very big and important milestone... It hasn’t been an easy task, we really have to thank all those before us such as our seniors and all the alumni for their continuous support”.
Another Sec 4 student Matthew Tan said he felt the school has “really come a long way, it has been a good journey”.
At a dinner celebration that evening, PM Lee, a former student of the school, shared: “I am proud to say I am from Catholic High. I would like to thank all our teachers for not just teaching us, but moulding us and setting us examples, and making us into the people we are.”
He also said he was glad that the school’s emphasis on values and character development has continued.
“That is something timeless and essential, and in fact, something which we want all Singapore schools to do more of, because our students should not just be book-smart, but should grow up to be citizens of good character, who will contribute to society and serve fellow Singaporeans,” he said.
“It is because Catholic High School has upheld these values, that over the last 80 years it has produced many leaders in different fields of society, not just in politics, but in business, in education, in culture,” he said.
By Jared Ng