Huge crowd at funeral of popular priest

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By Joyce Gan

SINGAPORE - The Singapore archdiocese bade farewell to Father Peter Lu who passed away on Wednesday Mar 21 at Mount Alvernia Hospital. The 87 year-old priest's funeral Mass at Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Tuesday Mar 27 was attended by a huge turnout of more than 1,200 people, many of them spilling out into the grounds around the church.

The people present were not only parishioners from Nativity. They were also from St. Stephen parish, where Father Lu was transferred to as Assistant Priest last year. Those in attendance had been touched in some way by Father Lu, either having encountered him in church or in ministry.

"Fruits of his (Father Lu's) labour," was how Archbishop Nicholas Chia described them in his homily; they were the fruits produced from the seeds of faith Father Lu planted.

Archbishop Chia reminded the congregation that "Father Lu's work is not finished but continues in the work of those he's touched… all the people present here goes to show he's left a deep impression on many."

Father Lu was born to a Catholic family in Shandong, China in 1920 and ordained a priest in 1949. He obtained a doctorate in Canon Law and a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy. He came to Singapore in 1957 after his studies and served at Holy Innocents' High School; he became its principal in 1969 and served till he retired in 1983. All this while, he was also serving as Assistant Priest at Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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His most significant contributions lay in his ministering of the Chinese-speaking community through ministries like the Young Christian Students, Young Christian Workers, Legion of Mary and the RCIA. "He definitely contributed to our archdiocese in many ways," Archbishop Chia said.

"Father Lu has lived a long life. But it's not the length that matters but the quality of life led," continued Archbishop Chia. "What's important is how he's made use of what God has given him for the will of God. We sincerely pray for Father Lu for all he's done. Most important for him was his Christian ministry. He heard the call of God and he left his country, family, to promote the Gospel to other countries. He generously gave himself to the service of the church."

The archbishop concluded, "We are sure because of his fidelity and commitment he must have heard Christ telling him, "'Come… to this kingdom prepared for you for all eternity.'"

Magdalene Yong, who serves in the Legion of Mary and who used to bathe Father Lu's dog (together with Fathers Matthias Tung's and Joseph Jeannequin's dogs), said that Father Lu was a very "humble person". She had taken the day off to be present at his funeral Mass. Now it feels like "there's something missing", she added.

Catechist Pauline Heng felt that "we've lost a dedicated, loving person who was connected to his parishioners". She said that Father Lu always had a word of encouragement for all he met and "he will be missed".

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