It is not how long you are a priest but the commitment, dedication and devotion that goes into your ministry.
For Father Vincent Chee, who celebrates his golden jubilee this year, the source of his commitment is “encountering God’s love”, said Archbishop William Goh .
“He is one priest who takes the dignity of the priesthood seriously. He knows that to be a priest is a great privilege because it is the Lord who calls us, we don’t choose to be a priest.”
Speaking during his homily at the Mass to celebrate Fr Vincent’s milestone year at the Church of St Bernadette on Oct 28, Archbishop Goh described Fr Vincent as a minister of God’s Word.
“If you have heard Fr Vincent preach, you will know that he is fearless because he preaches from the depths of his heart … he is a man who takes his prophetic role to speak the Truth seriously.”
The Word of God for him is very much active and alive, not just inspiring words, he said.
Archbishop Goh also spoke about Fr Vincent’s humility and how that quality has inspired him. Fr Vincent, in his 50 years as a priest, has never been a parish priest. Yet, he is very confident of himself because “he knows that is not his charism”.
“He knows himself, he knows his strengths and weaknesses. He is not a pretentious person and doesn’t suffer from low self-esteem.”
Recalling an experience when he was just a young professor in the seminary, Archbishop Goh said Fr Vincent Chee, who was ordained 16 years earlier than him, came to seek his advice on some doctrinal issues.
“He was a senior priest coming to a young priest for guidance and counsel. He was humble enough to ask and learn,” said Archbishop Goh.
His humility is also shown in the fact that he is happy to play his role for the Church. Even in his current retirement years, Archbishop Goh said Fr Vincent still visits the Carmelite Monastery to give spiritual talks and reflections. “In life, that is what we are called to do – to do what the Lord wants.”
“He is living a contemplative life – praying and reflecting,” added Archbishop Goh. Fr Vincent Chee, in his address, said it is “a privilege and honour to be a priest.” He gave thanks to God for “choosing and continually guiding him as a priest” and thanked various groups and the faithful for supporting and praying for him all these years.
Father Vincent Chee greeting the faithful after the Mass.