SINGAPORE – Six archbishops and bishops from Malaysia and Brunei, about 60 priests and 500 Catholics gathered for Mass to mark the 25th anniversary of the St. Francis Xavier Major Seminary, on Dec 1, at Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Religious brothers and sisters, even a Carmelite nun, were present.

The Mass used the liturgy for the feast day of St. Francis Xavier (Dec 3). The Apostolic Nuncio to Singapore Archbishop Salvatore Pennachio was originally meant to celebrate the Mass, but was unable to travel to Singapore due to the closure of the airport in Bangkok, where he is based.

In his summary of Archbishop Pennachio’s homily, Archbishop Chia said, “We are called to be missionaries like St. Francis Xavier, to preach the Good News where we are. The Good News must be part and parcel of our lives, and be proclaimed to others. All of us have a mission and vocation to accomplish.”

The Singapore archbishop encouraged all present to pray for more vocations in the diocese, and to pray for all the priests and seminarians undergoing formation.

In his address, seminary rector Father William Goh remarked that 25 years is “actually a very short time”, but that every milestone is “an occasion to celebrate”.

This is because, Father Goh said to the congregation, “it reminds us that where we are today is because of the grace of God”. The celebration is also “to pay tribute to the people who have been involved in the formation of priests, and also to pause and reflect on what we have done and what we have not done”, he said.

The celebrations concluded with the 25th anniversary dinner held in the school hall of CHIJ Our Lady of the Nativity, located next to the church.  n

Archbishop Nicholas Chia presents seminary rector Father William Goh with Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic blessing to the staff and seminarians of the seminary on the occasion of their silver jubilee. - By Daniel Tay, TheCatholicNews

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