Saturday, December 22, 2012

Places around P.E.E. (8) - Church of St Mary of the Angels

The Roman Catholic Church of St Mary of the Angels was established at Bukit Batok in 1970 when the parish was carved out of the huge St Joseph's Church domain.

It was given to the Australian Franciscan Friars (a religious order) to manage. The pioneer team of Friar Sylvester Campbell, Friar Brendon Rogers and Friar George Boggs took over the premises that was previously used by another group of Franciscans Friars who ran a sociological institute.

At that time, there were only 12 families registered in the new parish but this was soon to change with the establishment of Bukit Batok New Town. Located at the other end of Hillview Avenue from Princess Elizabeth Estate, the parish continued to grow to such an extent that the church building had to be torn down and rebuilt twice over  the next years just to accomodate the growing Catholic community. Today it is estimated to have a congregation of 8,000.

The 1st Church of St Mary of the Angels (left) in 1970.
The building in the rear is called the Friary where the religious friars lived.

Pictured below is the current church building which was designed with people at its heart.
The building was planned to ensure close interaction with the congregation and provide a conducive environment for community worship.

The cobblestone Piazza provides a medieval feeling to the place.

The church nave.

Quiet spaces for personal prayer inside the church

Statues of St Francis of Assisi and St Clare at the entrance welcome visitors.

Aisle leading to the underground Columbarium

The Garden of World Peace, built above the Columbarium.
The building is the Friary where the friars live in community.

A 10m overhead cantilevered roof provides sheltered outdoor space.

Christmas Tree erected over the Reflection Pool.

Though it was never done for that reason, the church building has been recognised as a work of architecture. It won the President's Design Award in 2006, the SIA Architectural Design Award in 2004, the International Dedal Minosse Prize 2004 and the 9th SIA-ICI Colour Award.

I have been a parishioner of this church since 1971 and was the Parish Administrator from 1985 to 1990 when I left to further my career in the commercial sector (sigh).

If you are ever in the area, please do feel free to drop in and enjoy the ambience and to look at the architecture. Free guides are available by the main door for you to make your own way around the premises.

For more info, you can visit the church website at this link.

Related links:
The friars at Hillview
The Franciscans
The Columbarium

1 comment:

  1. Hello James. Thanks for your posts. Do you have any pictures of the old St Mary's?