Participants doing warm-up exercises before embarking on a 7.3-km walk.

More than 150 parishioners and friends from the Church of Our Lady Star of The Sea took part in a walkathon to raise funds for the church’s renovations.

The March 11 event saw young and old chatting and laughing on a sunny morning as they walked 7.3 km from the church to scenic Seletar dam and back.

Participants looked out for each other as they crossed traffic junctions and used pedestrian crossings. One participant even brought along pet dogs.

The church’s Addition and Alteration programme, scheduled to start end of March, is expected to take about 12 months to complete.

The parish is building a ramp at the church entrance for handicapped persons and a ramp around the church for processions. The canteen will be air-conditioned with a larger seating capacity while the adoration room will be converted into a chapel able to seat 130 people.

The total seating capacity for the main church and upper will be raised from 700 to 1,300. The upgraded staircases will also have handicapped-friendly features.

Artist’s impression of the church after renovations. The main entrance will be widened, there will also be a ramp at the entrance for handicapped persons and at the side for processions.

According to the parish, the renovations will cost an estimated $5.8 million. About $600,000 have been raised so far.

The March 11 walkathon raised $122,458 from parishioners, who are mostly HDB dwellers.

The parish has about 6,000 parishioners. With recent developments in and around Yishun, Sembawang and Simpang, the Catholic population is expected to increase to about 8,800 parishioners by 2018.

Currently, there is much over-crowding during Sunday Masses and Days of Obligation.

The parish will hold a charity gala dinner on Oct 1.

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