Sunday, April 16, 2017

From Stones to Living Stones - Holy Family 80th Anniversary

Holy Family 80th Anniversary Book

Late last year, my parish celebrated the 80th Anniversary of the Church of the Holy Family.  Holy Family has featured a few times on this blog, like these posts on Easter celebration (with hot cross bun recipe!) and the Peranakan mass on CNY.  So how can I omit mention of this most special occasion?

The parish celebrated with a few events, including a fun fair and our 80th Anniversary Mass held on the Feast of the Holy Family, 30 Dec 2016.  It was a joyful Mass, with the Archbishop con-celebrating with eight other priests including our three parish priests (really nice photo here).  The other five priests had connections to our parish too - our former parish priests or assistant priests, and a young priest who was a parishioner here before being called to the priesthood.

The Parish also released our 80th Anniversary book at the Anniversary Mass.  Entitled "From Stones to Living Stones", it is a story of our Parish.  Of course, this is my excuse as to why I am only putting up a post on the 80th Anniversary in 2017, when the Anniversary was in 2016!  How am I supposed, after all, to write a post on the book in 2016 when I only receive it on the evening of 30 December.

But as I said, this book marks the origins of our Parish - when the worshippers went for mass in a small little hut set up by the La Salle brothers.  But as our Catholic community (one of the oldest in Singapore) grew, the need for a proper church building was felt and a charitable landowner donated the tract of land along East Coast Road.  Here, the first church building was erected, and has been rebuilt twice since to accomodate an ever-increasing congregation. Apparently, the Parish had to shift our masses to a cinema hall whilst the old church building was being replaced for the first time!  Of course, I was fully aware that masses had to be held in St Patrick's School whilst the current beautiful church building was being built.  I well remember those days of going for mass in St Pat's large school hall and not having kneelers for a few years - really toughened up those knees :-)

It was also a real pleasure to hear the "voices" of Holy Family in the book - contributions from past priests, including Fr Michael Arro and Fr Rene Nicolas (who served in Holy Family in 1957!).  It was good to see a little profile on Fr Alfred Chan, a true Baba of Singapore, and Holy Family's longest serving parish priest. No one has said the Peranakan mass quite like him since. Each parish group had its contribution - all the choirs, the lectors, wardens, Eucharistic Ministers, RCIA etc etc.  Individual parishioners told their tales too.  I saw many familiar names and faces in the book.  Indeed, we are the "living stones" of our little Parish.

In short, this was a book well worth reading, well worth keeping.  Many thanks to those who worked on it, and the many contributors to it.

Happy Easter everyone!

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