Mr Roche Lim Bak Chay, 81, bringing up the offertory to Fr Alphonsus Dominic. He was the oldest former server present at the celebration on Dec 26.Mr Roche Lim Bak Chay, 81, bringing up the offertory to Fr Alphonsus Dominic. He was the oldest former server present at the celebration on Dec 26.

Former altar servers of the St Stephen’s Altar Boys’ Society (SSABS) reunited at the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Dec 26 to celebrate the organisation’s 50th anniversary.

The celebration saw present servers as young as seven years old joining former servers as old as 81 years in thanksgiving.

About 160 former and current altar servers were at the celebration.

In his homily at the thanksgiving Mass, parish priest Fr Henry Siew urged the servers to emulate their patron saint, St Stephen, because “he was a person who imitated Christ Himself.” Two former altar servers who are now priests, Fr Augustine Tay and Fr Joachim Kang, also celebrated the Mass.

Today, the society boasts impressive alumni that features dozens of priests, including Archbishop William Goh.

Although he was unable to attend, his congratulatory letter to the society was read out.

Fr Noel Chin posing with Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary altar servers in 1968. Fr Noel Chin posing with Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary altar servers in 1968.

In his letter, Archbishop Goh recounted being the chief trainer when he was an altar server. “We would go for bicycle outings and would ride to Punggol and even to the city in the wee hours of the night!”

Many of the traditions that Archbishop Goh mentioned in his letter are still being practised – such as the servers’ test that new members must go through before given the privilege to serve at the Altar. The SSABS also has a strong tradition of discipline in attendance, service and conduct.

Several former servers who journeyed with Archbishop Goh also shared their experiences during their time in the society from its humble beginnings.

They shared another old tradition of having annual society outings to places like Tanah Merah Beach and Changi Beach.

The SSABS spearheaded the Archbishop’s Cup, an annual football tournament for altar servers in Singapore, which is still being played today.

Mr Emmanuel Loo, 23, a former server added that the society also shares a long-standing relationship with the members’ parents.

“The support from parents throughout the 50 years has buoyed the society and is what makes the members happy, loved, accepted and appreciated. This is important as it carries the traditions and makes the members remain longer in the society and attracts others to join,” he said.

The society currently has a strength of 67 members.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter