I had the opportunity to attend my uncle’s 21st wedding anniversary mass at the Church of the Nativity in Singapore. Wait, I should rephrase that. It was a wedding anniversary mass for over 160 couples. My uncle and his wife were one of the couples celebrating their anniversary.
Like many of the Catholic churches in the country, this place of worship is huge. For a country where land is scarce, I am amazed at its size compared to churches in Canada, where land is in abundance.
Perhaps it is the heating costs during winter that keeps the Canadian churches small, but the congregation here enjoys the heavenly balmy weather, which gives them an opportunity to make good use of their vast amounts of land. People can conveniently shuffle between multiple buildings and hold events in their courtyards.
Built in 1853 as a small “attap chapel” to cater to the Teowchew fishing village, the building soon became a more permanent brick chapel.
In 1901, the current main structure was erected. 32 years later, wings were added to the church to cater to a larger congregation.
The photo of the procession was from the ceremony while the other pictures were from two years ago when I visited the church at a much less crowded time.
Singapore celebrates its 45th anniversary this year as a country. This church however, is celebrating its 160th year in 2013. That makes the church 3.5 times as old as the country where it resides.