Fr. Timothy Yeo

SGF Jubilarians

Father Timothy Yeo

From a Taoist to a Catholic and, finally, a priest. Father Timothy Yeo’s faith and vocation story triumphed despite his parents’ initial disapproval of his conversion and, after several years of work in the secular world. It just goes to show that nothing is impossible for God.

As he celebrates his silver jubilee in priesthood, we invite you to join us for a trip down memory lane as we track his journey from Kampung Boy to Man of God.

The youngest son of seven children, Yeo Teck Seng was born on 15th January 1963, to a Taoist family. He grew up in kampung Mandai, which was situated close to the Church of St. Anthony. He was educated in Boys’ Town and Assumption English School.

Today, he’s still very much a “kampung boy” at heart.  He has fond memories winning a pomelo-peeling competition at his former parish, the Church of Holy Trinity. While he has no doubt that God helped guide his hands, he attributes this unique skillset to his early days helping out in his family’s provision shop, where he had to peel everything from bananas to oranges.

He went on to enjoy the fruits of his labour in various jobs from retail to property, all of which required the gift of the gab, which continue to serve him when he decided to answer the Lord’s call to become a priest.

Fr Timothy’s ordination service by the then Archbishop Gregory Yong

But the Lord works in mysterious ways. The call came through Teck Seng’s girlfriend who invited him to attend talks Neocatechumenal Way at the parish of St. Francis Assisi at Boon Lay. These talks inspired him to join the community.

The three itinerant catechists from Europe had a profound impact on his life who saw them as the messengers and witnesses of Jesus Christ who brought “good news” to Singapore, by forming Christian communities in the parishes.

Six years later, Teck Seng was baptised during the Easter Vigil in 1988 and chose the Christian name: Timothy. The following year, he attended “World Youth Day” in Compostela, Spain which was convocated by Pope John Paul II.

Timothy remembers the Holy Father’s homily: “Young people, do not to be afraid to respond to God’s calling. Christian vocations are: marriage, religious life, and priesthood. All vocations are to serve and witness to the world of God’s love for all humanity”.

Following his enlightening encounter with the Pope, Timothy participated in a global vocational meeting of all the Neocatechumenal communities at Saragossa, Spain. Several Cardinals and Bishops were present in the meeting. In addition to preaching, they had a callout for budding priests. Timothy responded to the Lord’s calling without hesitation.

“Come! Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”
Mark 1:17

Upon returning to Singapore, Timothy obtained Archbishop Gregory Yong’s approval and blessings to enter the seminary. That same year, he was sent to his seminary formation in Italy.

Timothy spent a total of 10 years in Italy at the “Diocesan Seminary Redemptorist Mater” in Rome and Macerata. He was first ordained a deacon in 1996, before being ordained a diocesan priest in Singapore at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi.

Following this, Fr. Tim returned to Italy and served at a local parish for two years. At the same time, he furthered his studies and obtained his licentiate in Sacramental Theology.

He eventually returned to Singapore 1999 where he served as an assistant priest in Christ the King, Holy Trinity and Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace, where he went on to serve as the Parish Priest of Queen of Peace from 2015.

Since joining the priesthood, he remains very close with his family. He was grateful to the Lord that his dad went to Italy for his deaconate ordination and his entire family attended his priestly ordination in Singapore. His parents were also inspired to join the faith and were eventually baptised as Catholics.

Fr Timothy giving Holy Communion to his parishioners.

Fr. Tim strongly advocates the call to being a Vibrant, Missionary & Evangelising Church. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Fr. Tim has been heavily involved in the design and fund-raising for the new House of Mary pastoral centre at Queen of Peace Church to ensure there are more facilities, not only for the immediate future but also for “Our Children’s Children”. With the Lord’s blessings, the new centre will open later this year to cater for the various needs of the parish communities. He is exploring providing childcare and after-school care facilities, as well as elderly care in the parish.

As a priest, Fr. Tim seeks to emulate Jesus and St. Paul, to “preach the Good News in good and bad times with his life, and not merely with words”. Living up to this ideal is also his greatest challenge as a priest. He strongly invites all parishioners young, and old to join a ministry or community so that we can all journey towards a stronger experience of Christ’s love in our lives.

Personally, Fr. Tim strives to continue enjoying a joyful and happy priesthood. The sermon he preaches to himself is “We live only once on this earth, so let’s live it to the fullest”.

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