05/24/2014, 00.00
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Singapore Catholics launch fundraiser for a pastoral center

The project, in three stages , concerns the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, home to locals and migrants. After the restoration of the church, the goal is to build a pastoral center by the end of 2015. Later there will also be space for a spiritual center. The new facility will cost between 10 and 12 million dollars.

Singapore (AsiaNews ) - Catholics in Singapore have launched a fundraising campaign to raise the money needed to build a pastoral center in the church of Our Lady of Lourdes, in the heart of Singapore. The aim is to bolster solidarity and outreach among parishioners and the large number of immigrants mostly from South Asian nations, who attend the community services. The pastoral centre is the second in a three phase project that will involve the entire parish. The first phase - the restoration of the church, recognized as a national monument and part of Singapore's heritage - was recently completed. The third phase, in the near future, will be the creation of a spiritual center.  This however, once the pastoral center has been realized.

The new facility will cost between 10 and 12 million dollars; work will only begin once the parish secures at least 70% of the total (or $ 7 million). The fundraising campaign, which began recently, brought donations to half a million dollars; parishioners intend to meet the fixed quota and start the construction by October 2015.

To achieve the goal, the faithful have organized a fair in February and a gala dinner for the fundraiser is scheduled for July 4 (for all information, you can contact the parish by e-mail at ololpasco@gmail.com or ololfundraising1888 @ gmail.com). Other similar initiatives are planned for Advent and Christmas, with charity dinners and a golf tournament to raise funds.

The church is "lacking in many facilities and amenities due to the growing number of parishioners and migrants", parish priest Fr Augustine Joseph told CatholicNews. At present there are 1800 faithful, including a large numberof migrants; every weekend Masses are celebrated in English, Tamil and Malayalam. The new facilities will include more meeting rooms, prayer rooms, counselling rooms, an adoration room, a catechetical centre, migrants' centre, parish bookshop, parish heritage room, two funeral parlours, a columbarium, and an auditorium and multi-purpose hall that can hold about 500 people each. The new facility, adds Fr . Joseph , the parish will provide the opportunity to offer more services , such as prayer retreats, a medical clinic and training programs.

In Singapore, the local Catholic community actually consists of more than 200 thousand Catholics, representing approximately 5 % of the population (Buddhism is the most popular with 43 ​​%, followed by Christianity with 18%, 15% Islam, Hinduism and Taoism 11:05 %). The local church is going through a phase of growth and dynamism that led to the recent opening of a theological seminary, termed a real "milestone" for the local community.


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