SINGAPORE - After two years of fundraising and renovation, the Maris Stella Chapel owned by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM) at 49-D Holland Road, is finally completed.
Archbishop Nicholas Chia blessed the new chapel at a Eucharistic celebration on Jan 6, the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, which is also the anniversary of the founding of the FMM in 1877.
During the liturgy, a number of the Sisters dressed in different national costumes representing some of the FMM international communities around the world. It also signified that Jesus manifested himself to the different nations and that his mission is universal.
In his homily, Archbishop Chia said that the blessing of the chapel "is a chance for us to think more profoundly of the divine presence among us." He reminded the congregation in the fully-packed chapel that the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh brought to the baby Jesus by the wise men are signs of sacrifice of something precious, prayer, and suffering that must be part of our daily offering to God.
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The funds raised by the FMM sisters since October 2003 have been used not only to renovate the chapel, but also the Shalom House and the roof of the House of Prayer and Formation, all of which have been in existence for over 45 years.
Sister Maria Ng, FMM, was one of the two sisters overseeing the renovation. She told CatholicNews that whenever it rained, the roof of the old chapel would leak and it would be "like a pond" inside. After many unsuccessful repairs had been carried out, the sisters decided that it was better to renovate the whole chapel.
In her thank-you speech, FMM Provincial Sister Assunta Leong thanked their many benefactors and the parishes who allowed them to raise funds over the past two years. "It was very difficult to raise funds," said Sister Maria, "but many generous people are very kind and helpful."
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She also thanked the architect, Mr. Anthony Lim, for hiscontribution in the design of the chapel and its surroundings. The chapel's quiet and green surrounding is very conducive to encounter God in prayers.
The chapel is open to the public. Daily Mass is celebrated at 7am everyday at the chapel, with the exception of Sundays. About 15-20 lay people join the sisters daily at the Eucharistic celebration. On some Sundays, foreign communities such as the German, the Spanish and Italian communities celebrate Mass here.
Top, multicoloured lamps light up the chapel at night. Right, Archbishop Nicholas Chia anoints the altar in the new Maris Stella Chapel.