The new grotto of Our Lady and a kneeling St Bernadette. Photo: Holy Family Church

The Church of the Holy Family installed and blessed a new grotto to Our Lady on July 16. ily installed and blessed a new grotto to Our Lady on July 16.

Led by youth from the Legion of Mary, some 200 parishioners as well as the three priests of the parish – Fathers Eugene Vaz, Stanislaus Pang and Alphonsus Dominic – prayed the rosary at the foot of the grotto which features a restored statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and a kneeling Saint Bernadette.

The statue of Our Lady, which used to stand by a pond under the main church staircase, was accidentally set alight when a visitor placed a candle near it on Feb 3. Quick-thinking parishioners managed to extinguish the blaze, but the statue was badly charred.

Dismay has, however, turned to delight, with many parishioners approving of the more prominent location for Our Blessed Mother’s grotto.

“She’s meant to be here,” said long-time parishioner Gwen Andres, of the spot between the two church entrances facing East Coast Road. “It’s our chance of evangelising, for people to sit here and get to know her and eventually get to know the faith.

The restoration of the statue and construction of the grotto is a labour of love by church maintenance officer Christopher Tan.

It took one month to clean, repair and repaint the fibreglass statue. He worked at home at night, painstakingly scraping off the blackened paint, filling holes and cracks, then carefully repainting and applying lacquer. The most stressful part, he said, was painting Our Lady’s face and eyes.

Christopher credits his friend, Christopher Ng from the Church of Divine Mercy, for helping him with the actual construction.

He is pleased with the result as is Fr Vaz, the parish priest. “It will offer an opportunity for people to come to pray,” he said. “It is better here than under the stairs. Here, you’ve got more space and it’s so beautiful.”
Submitted by Holy Family Church

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