(Left) Archbishop Nicholas Chia blesses one of the classrooms in the new parish community building. Photo by Darren Boon
SINGAPORE – Archbishop Nicholas Chia has officially opened and blessed the new community building at Church of the Sacred Heart on Feb 6.
Christened ‘Doulos’ (which means ‘slave’ or one who gives himself to another in service of Christ), the seven-and-a-half storey building with a floor area of 3,100 square meters was built on what used to be a row of shop houses at the cost of $6.8 million.
The new building which took four years to complete comprises three levels of car parks with 66 lots, a large community hall that can hold 800 people, seven meeting rooms and 10 catechism classrooms.
The priests’ office and quarters will be in the new community building along with a religious store and a spacious canteen at level two.
Additional features include a sky-lit columbarium named ‘Ray of Hope’ built over a stream of water and a 100-seat chapel used for weekday Masses.
During his homily, Archbishop Chia thanked God for the parish’s new facilities, and encouraged parishioners to “come close together as a community to deepen the faith and to use the facilities to reach out to one another and others”.
Addressing the congregation at the end of the Mass, parish priest Father Paul Tay said that “there is a ray of hope in this church” that despite a population of about 500 to 600 parishioners, the church regularly sees weekend Mass attendance of about 1,500 people.
Father Tay tells CatholicNews that that the parish has embraced “Doulos” in the form of feeding the poor every Sunday, rain or shine.
“All of us have a moral obligation to feed the poor and hungry, regardless of race or religion,” he shared. “This priority relates to the feeling of compassion and solidarity that is part of being human, leading to sharing with others not only in material goods, but also (sharing) the love all of us need.”
By Darren Boon