Renovation works at St Joseph Church (Bukit Timah) include making it more handicap-friendly and expanding its columbarium. The facade is expected to be preserved.

Parishioners of St Joseph Church (Bukit Timah) can look forward to better sound quality as well as new air-conditioning and overhead projection systems when renovations are completed in December.

The present church building, constructed in the 1960s, has not had major renovation or refurbishment works since.

Renovation work is being carried out in three phases. The first phase started in mid-May and will see repairs and repainting work done to the main church’s interior and facade.

The tabernacle will move to the centre and will be designed in Roman style. The sanctuary will also be extended and the altar brought forward to allow parishioners seated on the two wings to have a clearer view of Mass proceedings.

The church will adopt a wood-based finish to commemorate St Joseph the carpenter. Roofing works will also be carried out.

The new church will also be handicap-friendly. Its washroom facilities will allow handicap access.

The second and third renovation phases will involve the expansion of The Chapel of the Resurrection columbarium to allow space for more niches.

There are also plans for more classrooms and a general purpose hall for religious education, which would come with a rooftop Rosary Garden for meditation.

Presently, weekday Masses are held in a special room on the church premises while weekend Masses are held in the parish community hall. Mass timings remain unchanged.

However, catechism classes with the exception of the Confirmation class and Primary levels have moved to Assumption English School.

Parish priest Fr Edmund Chong told CatholicNews that plans for the renovations were already being discussed before he took over as parish priest in 2007. A survey was later conducted to gauge parishioners’ sentiments, which showed that many wanted the church facade to be preserved as well as for the church and canteen to be air-conditioned.

Fr Chong said the renovations would better serve the growing number of faithful in the parish.

The parish is also planning to strengthen its Neighbourhood Christian Communities (NCCs) and introduce the CaFE programme, which aims to re-evangelise Catholics.

The renovation cost is estimated at $7 million.

By Darren Boon
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