SINGAPORE - The Indian Association Balestier Road football grounds was a riot of colours as 400 altar servers from 18 parishes, and their supporters, gather for the annual football tournament, the Archbishop's Cup 2006.
Left, he is no football star, but Archishop Nicholas Chia is very pleased to kick off the Archbishop's Cup 2006 football tournament for altar servers.
The annual soccer tournament, which was organized by Church of Christ the King, was kicked off by Archbishop Nicholas Chia. The tournament had a festive atmosphere with cheering parents and friends, some even coming with baby prams and food baskets.
"It's so nice to see so many altar boys and supporters here," observed Archbishop Chia. "Very good for fellowship and bonding."
Held in the midst of the World Cup hype, there was even a segment on a World Cup quiz, where participants won prizes. "The World Cup makes all of us even more enthusiastic about this tournament," said Angela Ess, who came with eight other families to support the Holy Trinity parish.
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Housewife Jacintha Paglar, from Church of the Holy Cross, turned up with her mother, Norma, 78, to support their parish. Even priests lent their support despite their busy schedule.
Among those spotted on the touchlines rooting for their teams were Fathers Terence Pereira, Valerian Cheong and J. J. Fenelon, Timothy Yeo, Gerard Weerakoon and Robertus Sarwiseso. They came at different times during the eight-hour tournament.
But the day belonged to the boys who competed with boundless energy on the field. Their goal was as clear as the sunny skies that Saturday - to be champions. In all, 36 teams took part in three categories.
Father Valerian, who had prayed with the Holy Cross team, echoed the general sentiments of the participants and spectators when he said: "Win or lose, never mind. It's the spirit of participation."
For the record, the eventual parish champions in the various age groups were: St. Ignatius (Under 20); Holy Trinity (Under 15); and Christ the King (Under 12). Msgr Eugene Vaz gave away the challenge trophies and prizes at the end of the event.