Sunday, February 20, 2011

#15 Novena Church, 300 Thomson Road

The neo-classical semi-circular pediment and central stained glass window

St. Clement Pastoral Centre

Statue outside the Mass Hall

The Mass Hall. People can come in to the halls to do their devotions as and when. Mass services are also held here

Hungry ghosts waiting outside the church, waiting for our well-deserved Chicken Rice right across the church

Since I live in Toa Payoh, and was previously working at the Novena Office Towers, this site is not one that is unfamiliar to me. It is very hard to miss such a grand building whether walking or riding on the bus.

I was on my way home from work during the Christmas season, and the Novena Church would be so packed till the masses were standing in the carparks and as far as where the overhead bridge lies. I thought to myself, there must be some significance to this church that it would draw such a large crowd to visit on these important 'Christian Occasions'.

It was only until this Heritage trail, that I managed to take the time to read up about the Novena Church.

The Novena Church was actually known as The Church of St. Alphonsus. This Roman Catholic Church was built in dedication to Saint Alphonsus Maria de Ligouri who founded the Roman Catholic missionary Congregation in 1732. These missionaries were also known as Redemptorists who were responsible for sharing about Our Lady of Perpetual Succour to others. They arrived in Asia in the 1920s.

The Novena Church was one of the first few churches built after the second World War and was originally situated at where Thompson Medical Centre is right now. By 1950, the church moved to its current location and the Novena Church was built. It was later known as the Novena Church because every Saturday, the church will have novenas which are a mission given by the Pope to the Redemptorist fathers. What's more interesting is that because of the well-known novenas in happening in the church, even road names and MRT station took after the name 'Novena'.

Learning about the history of this church is truly an eye-opener for me. I always carried the misconception that the Novena Church was names after the area and not the other way round! Perhaps this explains the overwhelming turnout at the church, it has all the while carried such an influential power!

- Carmen

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