The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes is building a pastoral centre to better cater to the needs of its parishioners and the largely South Asian migrant communities it serves.
The Lourdes Pastoral Centre is the second phase of a project to enhance the parish. The first phase, which involves repairs and restoration of the church – a gazetted national monument – has already been completed.
The third phase, a proposed spirituality centre, will commence only after the pastoral centre is built.
The church is “lacking in many facilities and amenities due to the growing number of parishioners and migrants”, parish priest Fr Augustine Joseph told CatholicNews.
According to parish records, there are about 1,800 registered parishioners including the migrants. Masses in English, Tamil and Malayalam are held on the weekends.
The pastoral centre is expected to cost between $10 million and $12 million. Construction will begin when the parish is able to raise about 70 percent of the building costs or $7 million.
To date, about half a million have been raised. The parish hopes to commence construction by October 2015.
The new facilities will include more meeting rooms, prayer rooms, counselling rooms, an adoration room, a catechetical centre, migrants’ centre, parish bookshop, parish heritage room, two funeral parlours, a columbarium, and an auditorium and multi-purpose hall that can hold about 500 people each.
The parish offices will be located in the building, along with the priests’ residence. There will be a rosary garden on the top of the building with stained glass depicting scenes from the mysteries of the rosary as well as Stations of the Cross.
The new facilities will help the parish offer more services to the migrant workers such as large- scale retreats, a legal and medical clinic, and training programmes, said Fr Augustine.
The parish already provides marriage preparation, Bible sharing, Charismatic prayer, overnight vigils, counselling and the celebration of various Tamil cultural feasts for migrants (see story below).
More spiritual talks and activities will also be organised for local parishioners, said Mr Jerry Fernandez, chairman of the fundraising committee.
He added that parishioners have lamented the lack of an adoration room. The parish only has only one meeting room for all groups and ministries.
Meanwhile, fundraising efforts have begun. A food and fun fair was held in February and a charity dinner is scheduled for July. Other fundraisers include a Christmas and Advent fair, golf tournament and possibly another charity dinner.
The upcoming charity dinner show will be held on July 4 at Mandarin Orchard Hotel. Tickets per table of 10 are available at $5,000, $10,000 and $20,000.
By Darren Boon