Saint Joseph's Church

Saint Josephs Church altar

Learn more about Saint Joseph’s Church.

The assistant to the vicar of St. Peter’s Church in Malacca, Fr. Jacob Joaquim Freire Brumer, visited and cared for Catholics residing in Singapore. To care for the 12 or 13 Catholic residents there, Fr. Francisco da Silva Pinto e Maia, a member of the Congregation of Mission, journeyed from Macao to Singapore. He established the Portuguese Mission in Singapore and got the first church built, which get finished in 1853. 

The Portuguese Mission’s thread was severed when Fr. Benito de Sousa, the final missionary sent by the Bishop of Macau to work in St. Joseph’s Church, finished his term as rector. The Church and the Priest’s Residence get given to Saint Joseph’s Church under the Archbishop of Singapore’s jurisdiction. Holy Mass gets celebrated in St. Joseph’s Church by His Eminence, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See’s secretary of state and the second-highest-ranking official behind His Holiness, Pope Francis. The Golden Jubilee of Modern Singapore gets celebrated that year.

Architecture and interior design:

A Gothic Revival-style church named Saint Joseph’s Church gets constructed to hold 1,500 worshipers and get ornamented with massive marble statues of Saints Joseph, John of God, and John de Brito. The church’s walls get covered with azulejos (Portuguese painted tiles) that show the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. It had a bell turret and a little square tower.

The church’s layout gets designed in the shape of a Latin cross. The inside is a large expanse covered by a wooden barrel vault, not a gothic-style ceiling. Aisles are absent from both the nave and the transepts. Currently, it is painted white with blue accents to match the façade. The west front gets made up of three towers: two smaller towers on either side of an octagonal tower in the middle with a dome on top.

Saint Joseph is honored at the church’s main altar, while others are set aside for Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Saint Anthony of Padua. Numerous saints are shown in the church by stained-glass windows and sculptures that stand in canopied niches. The church previously housed a pipe organ that Forster and Andrews constructed in 1888, but it gets demolished. Allen Digital Organs with two and three manuals get installed in 2005 and 2009.

Portuguese religious traditions:

Many Portuguese-influenced liturgical customs get observed by Saint Joseph’s Church and its community, including the remembrance of Holy Week on Good Friday with a recreation of Christ’s crucifixion and death. Traditional Portuguese devotions, such as those to Our Lady of Fatima (observed on the thirteenth day of each month), Saint Joseph, Saint Jude Thaddeus, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Saint Anthony of Padua (the patron saint of Portugal), are also practiced and kept alive. These celebrations occasionally involve candlelight processions around the church grounds and draw large crowds of Catholics, which get observed and maintained. On Sundays, a traditional Latin Mass gets also held; it is well-attended and well-liked.


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