Novena Church personnel and bystanders watched, emotion-filled, as an excavator reached for the roof of the church’s St Clement Pastoral Centre and began demolishing it on Feb 11.
The iconic bell tower was next to be brought down.
The church’s redevelopment works are scheduled to continue over the next few months. After the two-storey pastoral centre is fully demolished, the excavators and bulldozers will target the Raffles Block, a larger and older building at the rear.
Even as some of the well-known church structures are being demolished, the façade of the original church building will be retained as it has been gazetted for conservation.
It will be renovated to serve as a church hall for daily Masses and will be annexed to the new Gothic-inspired church building, which will serve as the main venue for Saturday Novena devotions and weekend Masses.
A new St Clement Pastoral Centre will be built as well as a 24-hour Prayer Garden which people can use for contemplation or quiet prayer.
Construction of the new buildings is estimated to start in the second quarter of the year.
After Novena Church closed on Sept 28 for the redevelopment works, devotees – affectionately known as Novena-ites – moved to the air-conditioned Church of the Risen Christ in Toa Payoh for Novena devotions.
The Saturday Novena sessions have been reduced to six. The English sessions are at 8 am, 9 am, 10 am, 2 pm and 3 pm, while the Mandarin session is at 4 pm.
Sunday Massses are held at St Joseph’s Institution Junior at 8 am, 10 am and noon.
According to the church’s website, the new church building will have the following features: