PENANG – The Major Seminary in Penang, commonly called College General, celebrated the 200th anniversary of its establishment in Penang, on Oct 2.

The celebration, held on the grounds of the new seminary buildings at Teluk Bungah, brought together 13 archbishops and bishops and more than 100 priests, from East and West Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Myanmar – all former students of the college.

Singapore was represented by Archbishop Nicholas Chia, and 10 priests and seminarians from the Major Seminary in Singapore.

Penang Bishop Antony Selvanayagam was the main Mass celebrant and Archbishop John Ha of Kuching, the homilist.

The College General was first established in 1665 in Ayuthia, near Bangkok, by the Paris Foreign Missions (MEP). It was moved to Cambodia following the persecution of Christians in Thailand, and then to Pondicherry, India and finally to Pulau Tikus on the island of Penang in 1808.

It was orignially known as the College of Angels; the name was later changed to College General when it took in seminarians from the region.

Five MEP priests – Father Michael Arro from Singapore among them – who administered the college before it was handed over to the local clergy in 1970, also attended the celebrations.

The hundreds of Vietnamese priests who studied in College General were represented by Vietnamese working in Butterworth.

Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, the Apostolic Delegate to Malaysia, and over a 1,000 parishioners joined in the celebrations.

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