Thousands throng Novena Church on Sept 29 as it celebrated its first Mass on its premises after three years. Photos: MICHAEL LIEW

By Christopher Khoo

Novena Church aims to be a shrine and a home where “all can find peace and prayer, hope and healing, life and love”.

So said rector Fr Peter Wee at the church’s first Saturday novena devotion on Sept 29. The church reopened the previous day after a major overhaul which lasted three years.

Novena Church as a shrine is open to all, including non-Christians, to find “refuge” and to experience the gift of Mary, our Mother of Perpetual Help, Fr Wee said during the 8 am Novena service.

It also aims to be a “home”, he said. “Precisely we want everyone here in Singapore and elsewhere in the region, when they come, to be at home.”

For many who turned up for the novena devotions that day, it was an emotional homecoming of sorts.

Ms Mary Cecilia Kanapathy told Catholic News she was full of “happy tears” at the reopening of Novena Church. She said she drew much spiritual nourishment from attending novena devotions here since 1955.

There are “no words” to express her happiness, she said.

Her daughter, Roselin Roch, 51, who lives in Perth, Australia, said she was in Singapore to visit a relative who was ill. She came specially for this first Novena devotion.

She said she felt “very emotional” at attending the service in the new church. “Proud to be part of today’s opportunity to be here,” she added.

The benediction at the first novena devotion on Sept 30.

The previous evening, thousands descended upon the church to attend its first Mass, celebrating the Feast of the Archangels.

“To hear the church bells after three years is awesome,” said Redemptorist Fr Patrick Massang, in his opening address.

Fr Wee, in his homily, welcomed the congregation.

“Welcome … to the new house of God. May our Blessed Mother and St Alphonsus be our constant companions assisting everyone of us into the fullness of God,” he said. 

Fr Peter Wee leading the novena devotion.

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