I refer to the article, St Joseph Church Undergoes Major Renovations (CN, June 19).

I read with great joy how the parish church that served my formative years will undergo major renovations after nearly 50 years since its completion.

In light of the changes to the sanctuary and other parts of the nave, I wish to highlight the importance of maintaining continuity with Catholic tradition and the parish’s Chinese-inspired architectural designs.

It is most unfortunate that in remodelling themselves, many parishes (especially those historical ones) suffer from a discontinuity from the original architectural inspirations.

This discontinuity extends to certain pieces of liturgical furniture as well and not just the overall building design. One does not need to be a qualified designer or architect to point out inconsistencies in numerous parishes.

What makes our Catholic tradition rich is her 2,000 years of continuity. Continuity is important to underscore the Church Militant’s union with the Church Suffering and Church Triumphant.

As Catholics, we are blessed to stand on the strong shoulders of those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith.

We need to cherish the blessed memory of Christians and their contributions in making the Church what she is today. St Joseph Church should retain its Chinese-architectural origins and, in fact, use this time of major renovations to emphasise the parish’s unique beginnings.

The increasing number of mainland Chinese in Singapore should also give the Church a heightened awareness of the importance of showcasing the Catholic Church as a truly catholic (universal) religion meant for all humankind, not just Romans and other Western cultures.

A well-balanced St Joseph Church will be most welcoming to mainland Chinese as well as Chinese converts from traditional Chinese forms of worship.

Such a church will be a silent declaration that the Church’s mission is not to eradicate culture or impose Western concepts and ideologies, but embrace all men and women in Christ’s universal bond of love.

With this simple letter, I hope that those in the design committee will bear in mind the importance of architectural continuity and be mindful of designing a church that will be culturally relevant. 

Paul Molina, Singapore

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