Franciscan friar George Boggs helped to set up St Mary of the Angels and produced many Catholic Junior College musicals

Br George Boggs speaking at his diamond jubilee celebration.

Raphael Phang

It was a joyful reunion for Australian friar George Boggs and his Singaporean friends as the 81-year-old celebrated his diamond jubilee on June 30.

Catholic Junior College (CJC) alumni, who acted in the musicals that the Franciscan Brother produced when he was serving at the college decades ago, were among the 100 or so who attended his diamond jubilee Mass at the Church of St Mary of the Angels.

Br George came to Singapore in 1968. Together with other Franciscan friars, they established the Franciscan parish of St Mary of the Angels in Bukit Batok and the Franciscan formation friary.

In addition to serving Bukit Batok residents, Br George also become involved with the newly-built CJC in 1976, where he taught catechism class and produced Christmas and Easter musicals performed by the students.

He returned to Sydney, Australia, in 1986 to work in various ministries such as serving the migrant communities and training to become a nurse to look after AIDS patients.

At the June 30 thanksgiving Mass, Br George shared that one of his fondest memories of working in Singapore was meeting and bringing the Word of God to Singaporeans and Malaysians.

He also told Catholic News that other fond memories include the many lifelong friends he made here, who would bring
him out for a “catch-up makan” whenever he visited Singapore.

In his homily, Franciscan Friar John-Paul Tan gave thanks to God and commended Br George for being faithful to God’s call. He emphasised that the Mass was a celebration of God’s fidelity to Br George through all the twists and turns of life.

Br George greeting Sr Callistus Goh, FMDM, and other well-wishers after the celebration. Photos: Benedict Lau

At the end of the Mass, Fr John-Paul read out a message from Archbishop William Goh, thanking Br George on behalf of the Church in Singapore for his work here.

Ms Moira Goh (CJC class of 1982), who had performed in Br George’s musicals, told Catholic News that “Br George believed in us so much”. She added that his musicals gave her the opportunity to express herself in singing and dancing for God.

A tea reception was held after Mass during which Br George recalled how he first met the Franciscans while in primary school. He subsequently entered the novitiate at the age of 19 and took his first vows in 1958. 

The writer is a CJC alumnus.