Restored Catholic Church comes with a museum
THE 157-year-old Church of the Assumption located along the heritage enclave at Farquhar Street is expected to reopen its doors to parishioners and tourists in October once renovation works have been completed with a soft opening scheduled to be on Christmas Eve this year.
This was revealed by its fund raising committee chairman John Lau when he and the Bishop of Penang Rev. Sebastian Francis welcomed state exco members Chow Kon Yeow (Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation) and Jagdeep Singh (Town & Country Planning and Housing) to the church premises on July 24 to receive RM50,000 from the state government’s Non-Islamic Places of Worship Fund (RIBI).
The Church of the Assumption, which is the oldest Catholic church in Penang, is recognised for its immense heritage value and major renovations and extensions were last done in 1928. It was built in 1860 by the descendants of the Eurasian community who fled Ligor and Phuket due to persecution. In 1781, the community, led by Bishop Arnaud-Antoine Garnault of Siam, fled to Kuala Kedah and subsequently followed Captain Francis Light to Penang when he established a British trading post on the island.
Jagdeep, who chairs the RIBI fund committee, was elated over the financial contributions given to the church by the state government especially on the increased amount that was decided upon in June this year.
“This contribution is made possible as a result of the decision by the state government in June 20, 2017 to increase the amount of RIBI contribution from the initial amount of RM20,000 to RM50,000 per application. I am also very happy to announce that as of July 21 this year, at the last sitting of the RIBI fund committee, some 31 applications have been approved since the inception of the fund on September 9, 2015,” he said.
The total cost of the restoration work amounts to RM2.5 million of which RM500,000 was contributed by the church itself with the balance being raised through various fund raising activities.
An added feature to the restored church, according to Bishop Sebastian, would be a Catholic Museum within the church premises to depict the history of Catholicism in Malaysia with focus on its welfare activities covering education, healthcare, old folks’ homes and orphanages.
Apart from its soft opening on Dec 24 as mentioned earlier, Lau also added that the grand opening is slated to be on Jan 1, 2018.
Story by Victor Seow
Pix by Alvie Cheng
Taken from Buletinmutiara Facebook