Fr Gregory Tan, Mrs Phyllis Lim, principal, and Mr Bernard Tan of the School Management Committee with the Apostolic Blessing.

Catholic Junior College (CJC) celebrates its 45th anniversary this year. Throughout the year, the college intentionally included commemorative elements in its major celebrations to celebrate this milestone. This included the composition of a commemorative song “Bearers of the Flame” composed by alumnus Dr. Patrick Goh (Class of 1978) and performed by its current teachers and students, as well as a special commemorative mural conceptualised and painted by Dr Felicia Low (Class of 1994) with contributions from the students and staff of the college.

The year-long celebration culminated in a Thanksgiving Mass on Nov 27, 2020. It was celebrated by Father Gregory Tan, SJ, the college chaplain who is also an alumnus of the college (Class of 1990). Due to the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was attended by a small congregation of 50 persons comprising representatives from its School Management Committee, parents, staff and students. It was held in the College’s Performing Arts Centre.

Looking back

Before Mass began, Mrs Phyllis Lim, CJC’s principal, recounted how the hand of God was very much present throughout the history of the college. She recalled how in the 1970s, there was a great desire to establish a Catholic junior college to provide pre-university education for students from all Catholic mission secondary schools in Singapore. With God’s providence, German bishops, local philanthropists, the Archdiocese of Singapore and the Singapore government worked together to bring this idea to fruition.

In her address, she also reiterated the college’s commitment as a Catholic mission school to develop students holistically in truth and in love, as well as to develop them spiritually. She candidly recalled how many of the college’s alumni shared that much of their mission and zeal to serve can be attributed to the formative time they spent in CJC, including the programmes they participated in, the teachers who guided them and the rich Catholic and spiritual ethos which shaped their values, character, mission and outlook in life.

In his homily, Fr Gregory shared about the centrality of the Holy Spirit in the ethos of the college, and how the college can continue to seek wisdom and counsel from the Holy Spirit in its mission, especially by exercising its God-given gifts. He added that “we are called in this community to bring our gifts and use them to serve God and build each other up as a community”. In concluding, he exhorted the CJC community to be mindful of the needs and suffering in the community, so that in whatever way possible, they can be instruments to bring Christ’s mercy to the world and be instruments of unity.

At the end of Mass, Fr Gregory presented the school leaders and School Management Committee representatives with the Apostolic Blessing by Pope Francis which was bestowed by the Holy Father upon the college to commemorate this momentous milestone in its history.

Looking forward

When asked about the aspirations of the college, Mrs Lim shared that a college is made up of students, teachers, administrative staff and parents working in tandem to achieve a common good. Thus, she hopes that there will be a sense of collective determination and a spirit to learn, reflect, and grow as a community. She also hopes that the college continues to stay true to its mission to form young people in truth and love, grounded in their personal mission to do good for the good of others.

Mr Alex Wong, a teacher, hopes that “CJC continues to be a sanctuary for students and staff to encounter God through the demonstration of truth and love by members of the community. May the college also continue to inspire others to find their personal mission to be of service to the community.”

And students Ms Ashley Sim and Ms Madeleine Chau, both fondly recalled the close sense of community in the college, and hoped that more students would come to CJC and experience the same warm welcome and family presence they experienced thus far. They were very proud to be present on this momentous occasion. Ashley is a Student Councillor who was also the commentator at Mass, and Madeleine is the Vice-President of a new co-curricular activity (CCA) named Genesis to be launched in 2021.

Genesis is a Christian community comprising a music and formation ministry. This new CCA aims to provide integral faith formation to young people, and allow students to support each other through prayer and sharing of their faith. The college hopes that with Genesis, a vibrant community will be formed on this platform that will allow students to put their faith into action.

We thank God for His continued blessings upon Catholic Junior College over the past 45 years and entrust the college to God the Holy Spirit, that He who began this good work will bring it to completion.

Contributed by Catholic Junior College.