Fr Tom Curran OCD has been a Discalced Carmelite Friar for 54 years. He has spent time in Ireland, Rome, Australia, Nigeria and Kenya and is currently the working in the Formation house in Singapore.
The Anglo-Irish Province of the Discalced Carmelite Friars has been involved with the in Singapore-Taiwan Carmelite Mission since it’s beginning in 1982. Fr Hugo Townsend went with Fr John Mary Chin and two Maltese Carmelite Fathers to open the mission. Fr Hugo worked on the mission for several years and then returned to England for health reasons. Gradually vocations came most of them from Singapore so over time it became clear that it would be very beneficial to open another house in Singapore.
In 1996 the Carmelite Fathers arrived in Singapore. This time they were helped by Fr John Williamson for the first year. He is still remembered for doing great work visiting the sick and filling in for Masses in the different parishes. He had with him his huge motorcycle as he whirred around the island.
Fr Tom Curran who is still in Singapore replaced the following year Fr John. Fr Tom had previously worked in formation in Nigeria and in Kenya and now the Carmelites needed a formator to help with the growth of the Delegation. There were now five Carmelite friars in Singapore. Shortly after Fr. Tom’s arrival the Archbishop gave them the care of the parish of Sts. Peter and Paul in the city centre. This was the original Chinese mission originally founded in the 19th Century by the French Missionaries. Many of the Catholic churches in Singapore developed from this parish of Sts Peter and Paul.
In the first three years the Carmelites carried out extensive renovation of the parish structures, which at that time were in a dilapidated condition. They also bought a small house in the area of Sembawang which served for two years as a formation house. As it proved too small for the growing number of vocations they then bought two fine dwelling houses in the Punggol area of the city, close to the seminary. They carried on an intensive fundraising campaign to clear off the debt of nearly four million Singapore dollars, which the house had cost. It is to be kept in mind that since the country is small the price of property is very expensive.
By this time too the friars began to take in candidates from Thailand and to day we have three professed friars, two of them priests, and have opened a house in Thailand. Where there is a good prospect of vocations for the future.
Today there are 26 friars in the Delegation. Eleven of these are in formation, preparing for priesthood and religious life. As well as ministering to the parish, the friars give retreats, talks, and minister to the Secular order, youth groups and Charismatic Renewal groups.
The future of our Order in this delegation seems very promising. Soon we hope to begin a house in Malaysia as we already have 9 Malaysians in the delegation. Our work is a continual act of faith and relies on the Lord and His Mother to help us to continue our work for the future and the good of the Church.
For more information on the Discalced Carmelites in the Tawain-Singapore General Delegation click on this link .