Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Chia is joined by Cardinal Anthony Soter Fernandez of Malaysia and Archbishop William Goh as he blows out the candles on his birthday cake.

By Jared Ng

“I ask the Lord to bless all present today,” said Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Chia to thunderous applause.

He was speaking during his 80th birthday celebration held on April 7 at the Church of the Holy Cross, where he was parish priest for more than 20 years.

In the presence of fellow priests and loved ones, Archbishop Chia blew out the candles on his birthday cake and received specially-made shirts with his name embroidered on them as a present.

A slide show of him over the years, including a picture of him and Pope John Paul II, was another highlight.

Prior to this, a thanksgiving Mass celebrated by Archbishop William Goh was held and saw about 400 people attending.

They included Cardinal Anthony Soter Fernandez of Malaysia, Bishop Cornelius Sim of Brunei and Archbishop Emeritus Murphy Pakiam of Kuala Lumpur.

“He is a man who is always available for the people,” said Archbishop Goh in his homily.

Archbishop Chia at the thanksgiving Mass to commemorate his birthday.

He gave the example of how when Archbishop Chia was heading the Church in Singapore, his residence was always open for people to drop by.

Recalling his time as assistant priest under then Fr Nicholas Chia at Holy Cross Church, Archbishop Goh laughed and said,
“With him around, there was no rest.”

Archbishop Chia “was always trying to rejuvenate the parish with renewal programmes to better cater to the parishioners,” Archbishop Goh said, adding that no matter how busy he was, he always made time to visit the elderly and the sick.

People were eager to take a photo with Archbishop Chia.

After Mass, many people came up to Archbishop Chia to wish him happy birthday and take photos with him.

Born on April 8, 1938, Archbishop Chia was ordained a priest on Jan 26, 1964. He was ordained Archbishop of Singapore on Oct 7, 2001. He retired when Rome accepted his resignation as head of the archdiocese on May 18, 2013, after he reached the age of 75. 

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