Fr Odo Tiggeloven celebrating his diamond jubilee at Blessed Sacrament Church recently. He and a fellow priest from the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary built the church in the 1960s. Photo: IAN CARNEGIE

Blessed Sacrament Church recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of the ordination one of its former parish priests, who was instrumental in building the church in the 1960s.

Fr Odo Tiggeloven, from the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, flew to Singapore from the Netherlands specially to celebrate his Diamond Sacerdotal Ordination Jubilee on Sept 25.

Present at the event were former students of St Patrick’s School and St Joseph’s Institution, who knew him when he was their chaplain; his parishioners from the 1960s, many of whom were altar servers back then; Vicar General Msgr Eugene Vaz who was Fr Odo’s student, Sacred Hearts Religious and current parishioners.

Fr Odo, a Dutchman, was ordained in 1951, and came to Singapore in 1957. He was appointed parish priest of the Church of the Holy Family in Katong and was later chaplain for St Patrick’s School and St Joseph’s Institution.

In 1963, he joined his fellow Religious, Fr William van Soest, in building Blessed Sacrament Church. As part of his efforts to raise funds for the building, Father Odo would travel on his scooter in his religious habit to meet potential donors and organise fundraisers in town.

In 1965, he left Singapore for Taiwan where he studied Mandarin for a year and a half. Upon his return to Singapore, he was appointed parish priest of Blessed Sacrament Church.

Fr Odo had a great love for Singapore and was greatly disappointed when in 1972, during a holiday in his home country, he was reassigned to work there. Being a faithful Religious, he obeyed the request of his provincial.

He retired in 1991 but spent the next one and a half years on a mission to the Philippines.

Upon his return to the Netherlands, he focused his ministry on hospitals and institutions for the handicapped and mentally disabled. This ministry continues today.

Fr Odo is expected to leave Singapore to return home sometime in mid-November.

By Br Paul Molina

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