We congratulate priests and Religious celebrating their jubilees this year


FMM Sr Margaret Hiang

Born in China in 1933, Sr Margaret Hiang left for Macau in 1950 to continue her high school education.

After graduating from high school, she entered the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary novitiate in Macau in 1955.

She arrived in Singapore in 1957. She is one of the foundresses of Hai Sing Girls’ School which began in Hougang in 1959.

She taught Mathematics and Music and served in the school until 1972 as a full-time teacher.

She was also actively involved in the Young Christian Students’ Movement in Hai Sing Girls’ School until it moved to Pasir Ris in 1980.

As for her work in the Church, Sr Margaret was involved in animating church choirs for the Mandarin speaking from the 1960s to 1990s.

From 1975-2000, she served as the principal of Catholic Kindergarten at Flower Road run by the Marist Brothers.

In 2000, Sr Margaret moved to Maris Stella Convent at Holland Road.

She also helps her congregation make Church vestments at the Atelier, the workroom of the FMM.

FMM Sr Sabine Fernandez

Sr Sabine Fernandez entered the FMM novitiate in Mittagong, Australia, in 1956.

In 1961, she made her final vows in Singapore.

She was sent to Maris Stella College in Madras, India, to audit a course on social work. She had short mission exposures in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Vietnam.

In 1969, she initiated the Bukit Ho Swee Community Organisation Project in collaboration with the Anglican pastors.

She was subsequently involved in social work at Bukit Ho Swee until 1984 while also being involved in pastoral work in Blessed Sacrament Church at Queenstown.

That same year in 1984, Sr Fernandez was sent to France. She was involved in mission animation with a team in the region of Brittany, France representing Asia. She later served at Bordeaux and in the Lourdes region until 1987.

In 1992, she returned to Singapore. She was appointed historian for the FMM province of Malaysia/Singapore in 1994.

She recently completed a book called History of the FMM in Singapore – Malaysia 1953-1975.

She continues to be active in the parish of Blessed Sacrament Church. 

Redemptorist Fr Paul Pang

After his ordination on Aug 28, 1966, at Novena Church, Redemptorist Fr Paul Pang became the first local Redemptorist.

During his teenage years, he studied at St Joseph’s Institution which was then located at Bras Basah Road. There, he was inspired by the preaching of the Redemptorists in the school missions. Fr Paul went on to take instructions and was baptised by Redemptorist Fr Tom Creede.

He was initially introduced to the Jesuits by his father’s god-father, but was led instead to the Redemptorists.

Fr Paul, who turns 80 in August, entered St Clement’s College in Galong, Australia, in 1957 to study at the Redemptorist juvenate.

He took his first profession in 1959 and final profession in 1964.

In 1974, he was sent to St Louis, USA, where he did a course at the Institute of Religious Formation.

This was to prepare him for the role of novice master which he held for 10 years at the Redemptorists house, located within Novena Church.

He then took on the RCIA programme at the parish for the next 12 years.

Today, his service to the Catholic Church includes spending time visiting prison inmates and celebrating Mass for them.

The Roman Catholic Prison Ministry works with 13 prisons to allow inmates to worship at Mass, receive the sacraments, counselling and participate in RCIA and Alpha courses.

Fr Paul was previously the principal chaplain of the ministry.

Believing that the best is yet to come of his service, Fr Paul holds on firmly and faithfully to the words of St Paul: “What no eye has seen, nor ear has heard, nor human heart conceived – what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor 2:9)

Fr Cyril John Lee

Soon after completing his O-level examinations, Fr Cyril John Lee entered the minor seminary in1956.

He was ordained a priest on Jan 16, 1966, at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd.

Fr Cyril’s brother – Fr Leo Lee – was also a priest and gave Fr Cyril a final nudge towards his calling.

In 1970, Fr Cyril was sent to the East Asian Pastoral Institute in the Philippines to pursue a diploma in religious education.

Upon his return, he spent the next seven years directing the Catechetical Centre.

During his tenure here, he started the Catholic Audio Visual Centre which was also known as Sounds and Sight Committee.

In 1979, Fr Cyril was sent to London to pursue another diploma in Radio and Television Production at the Catholic Radio and Television Centre which was affiliated to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

In the last 50 years, Fr Cyril has served as a priest in several parishes including the Churches of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St Michael, Our Lady Queen of Peace, Christ the King and presently at the Church of St Anthony.

Fr Cyril was associate editor of CatholicNews from 1989-1995. He was editor of the paper from 1996 to 2001.

Due to his health, Fr Cyril, who is 76 this year, considers himself “semi-retired”. He occasionally serves morning or evening Mass on weekdays at his parish.

When CatholicNews asked him what were some of his most memorable experiences, Fr Cyril recalled his time at the newspaper.

“I liked writing the commentaries on current affairs of the Church. It was also a way for me to spread the word of God,” said Fr Cyril.

“I was never really good at speaking or talking so writing was my way of expressing how I felt.”

On the lessons he learnt as a priest, Fr Cyril said: “I do what I can to the best of my abilities. Ultimately this is all God’s work and I never worry about what others think of it.”

His advice to those thinking of joining the priesthood: “There will be disappointments and frustrations in your journey, but if God is really calling you ... you shouldn’t worry.”

FMM Sr Victorine Fernandez

In her 50 years as a Franciscan Missionary of Mary (FMM), Sr Victorine Fernandez has mainly been involved in “education in Singapore and Malaysia as a teacher, supervisor, counsellor, school chaplain and now, as province archivist”.

“It has been a wonderful, painful and challenging adventure of discovering the Master whose faithful and unconditional love has been my strength, hope and joy,” said Sr Victorine, adding that “I don’t believe I have done anything others could not have done.”

She shared that Religious life has “given me time for daily reflection, prayer and purification. My FMM commitment to daily Eucharist and adoration allows me to know a God whose love is present in every person, every situation, who gives me the freedom to make choices that fall or do not fall into His plans and, despite my mistakes, writes straight with crooked lines,” she said.

“This journey has been a gift and a miracle with the people God put into my life – my family, my Sisters in community and faithful friends. I can only give thanks for each new day that continues my journey!” 

Infant Jesus Sr Julia Ong

Lord I am not worthy of this vocation from thee
- Return to give what you have received

What is your desire for Catholic schools?
- That each child knows how much I love her

I am dyslexic and I have been failing English…
- Be like a pen in my hand and write

Do you want me to let this work go?
- Be like a feather in the wind and allow the Holy Spirit to blow you wherever I will

What is my purpose for this ministry now?
- Even if it is just for the sake of one child

Such suffering and pain!
- I am sharing mine with you

The joy that whelms from your Body
- That will last forever

“My perpetual vows were made in 1998, eight years after my first vows. After taking my perpetual vows, I left for the Philippines for the Masters in Education to major in Religious Formation. The above summarises my life as an IJ Sister since the retreat a few days before I returned to Singapore in 2003.

As Church, let us rejoice in the excellence of our personal vocation from God and celebrate the gift of such love.”

Fr Henry Siew

Fr Henry Siew was ordained to the priesthood at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour on April 14, 1991.

He was posted to the Church of the Holy Trinity where he served as assistant parish priest until 1992.

From 1993 to 1996, he served as assistant parish priest at the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea.

He left for Rome to study Philosophy from 1996 to 1998 and went on to complete his Doctorate in Philosophy from 1998 to 2000.

In 2000, he returned to Singapore to be a formator and lecturer at the St Francis Xavier Major Seminary.

Fr Henry served in the seminary until 2004 before he was posted to St Anne’s Church to be parish priest.

He was asked to serve at the Church of Our Lady of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 2007 as there was a need for someone who could speak Teochew to be parish priest.

He is currently serving at the parish.

On top of his parish commitments, Fr Henry is also in a few Catholic organisations.

He has been a priest presenter in the Marriage Encounter since 2000.

That same year, he was also appointed to be spiritual director for the Archdiocesan Commission for Apostolate of Mandarin-Speaking.

In 2005, Fr Henry joined the School Management Board of Catholic High School.

From 2005 to 2014, he was the Serangoon district representative to the Senate of Priests and was also elected as Senate Secretary during those years.

Not all who are celebrating their jubilees are highlighted here as some have declined to be featured. Compiled by Jared Ng.

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