All smiles as Archbishop Chia celebrates his birthday at Roland Restaurant in Marine Parade. Behind him are veteran DJ Brian Richmond (left) and singer Robert Fernando who entertained the crowd.All smiles as Archbishop Chia celebrates his birthday at Roland Restaurant in Marine Parade. Behind him are veteran DJ Brian Richmond (left) and singer Robert Fernando who entertained the crowd.Archbishop Chia shares the importance he places on Mary at Mass to mark his 75th birthday

Mother Mary has played “a great role in my life”, said Archbishop Chia at a special Mass to mark his 75th birthday on April 8.

“I have a great reverence and devotion to Mary as she is a great example for us and she is a source of inspiration and guidance for me all these years,” he said.

During the Mass, which marked the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, Archbishop Chia shared with bishops, priests, Religious, seminarians and laypeople how he has “a great reverence and devotion to Mary” and how “she is a source of inspiration and guidance for me all these years”.

The Mass, held at the Church of the Holy Family, was concelebrated by Coadjutor Archbishop William Goh, Archbishop Murphy Pakiam and Archbishop Emeritus Anthony Soter Fernandez of Kuala Lumpur, Bishop Emeritus Antony Selvanayagam of Penang, Bishop Cornelius Sim of Brunei and about 30 priests.

Archbishop Chia said he chose the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary for his episcopal ordination date years ago because of Mary’s importance to him.

“Mary is a model of prayer and she was at prayer when Angel Gabriel appeared to her”, he said. “Prayer is not just reciting words and phrases but also listening, which was what Mary did when she listened to Angel Gabriel.”

Archbishop Chia delivering his homily at the Church of the Holy Family. Photo: KEVIN HOArchbishop Chia delivering his homily at the Church of the Holy Family. Photo: KEVIN HOArchbishop Chia asked the crowd, “Are you really doing God’s will in your daily lives or are you doing what you want?”

He urged them to follow the example of Mary when she submitted herself to God’s will to give birth to Jesus.

Close to 1,000 people attended Archbishop Chia’s birthday dinner held that evening at Roland Restaurant in Marine Parade.

Coadjutor Archbishop William Goh, in his tribute to Archbishop Chia, noted how he has touched the lives of many people.

He has certainly “made an indelible imprint on my life”, said Archbishop Goh, adding that although Archbishop Chia “has left behind big shoes for me to fill”, he also “took care to mould and shape me into those shoes”.

Archbishop Goh recalled how Archbishop Chia, who was former parish priest of the Church of the Holy Cross, supported him when he was a young priest there, when he was working in the seminary and in his work with the Catholic Spirituality Centre.

He also noted how parishioners at Holy Cross church used to call him affectionately “Papa Chia”.

“Archbishop Chia is a sincere man, a man with a good heart which seeks to follow his conscience in what he does,” he said. Additional reporting: CHRISTOPHER KHOO

By Martin See
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