number approximately 600 Catholic families, a mixture of old Puchong, of
estate-mining roots, and new Puchong, young families catching the
We worship in a shoplot chapel at 13th-Mile
Puchong Road, this being the latest in a series of location moves since
pioneers erected the first chapel on estate land at 10th-Mile
Many of us do not attend Sunday mass at
the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes, the reason being it seats only 120
persons at most. We do not have facilities for Catechism lessons for our
children. Instead they, with their parents make weekly visits to the
surrounding churches in Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur for their
religious education and worship obligations.
Our BECs function only in fits and
starts, if at all. It is extremely difficult to mould our parishioners
into a cohesive community. Tipping the scales further is the fact that
our parish priest is not resident in Puchong. In a setting that is
tradition-bound to look on him centrally for references spiritual and
temporal, it is little wonder our faith community struggles for
relevance and focus.
This sad state is about to change, or so
we hope, seeing that structures to our new church have begun, and will
be complete by 2004. At this juncture, it is perhaps relevant to go back
to the beginning, take a look at how it all began, and pluck references
from there, on which to build our future.
One man's strong faith, vision and
dedication brought about the birth of the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes,
and with that the eventual church named in honour of Our Lady of
Guadalupe in April 2002 by Archbishop Emeritus Soter Fernandez at its
For our beginnings, we owe a huge debt to
the late Mr M Singarayan, a mandore at Castlefield Estate, Puchong. In
1934, feeling the need for a place of worship for the Catholic community
there, he appealed to the estate management for a piece of land for the
purpose. This was graciously granted by his manager, Mr Stewart, who
also helped to build a wooden chapel near the estate cemetery at the 10th-Mile
Castlefield Estate Road. That was the modest beginning. The structure
could accommodate only 20 people at most. This chapel at 10th-Mile
Castlefield Estate was demolished in 1954 for security reasons.
At the height of the Emergency (period of
communist insurgency in the country), on the orders of Sir Gerald
Templer, the residents of Castlefield Estate were relocated to Division
One at the 11 1/2th Mile Puchong Road.
Once again, the Catholic community found
itself without a house of worship. The untiring Mr Singarayan once again
rose to the occasion and persuaded estate owners, Harissons & Crossfield
, through the good offices of their manager, Mr Herman, to donate a half
acre of land at 11 1/2th Mile Puchong Road in 1959. With that, efforts
to build another chapel began in earnest.
Mr Herman contributed the granite, cement
and bricks for the building of the altar and grotto. The granite was
mined from the nearby hills.
Mr J S Sebastian, manager of Hume
Industries supplied the pebbles and sand. Much help came from a few of
Mr Singarayan's Christian friends, who solicited cash donations from the
estate and tin-mining communities in the vicinity.
The late Rev Fr Noel Clement, parish
priest of St Anthony's Church, then mother church to Puchong district,
contributed to the effort by supplying teak beams for the roofing, while
tending to the spiritual needs of the enlarging community.
Between 1959 and 1960, the chapel at 11
1/2th Mile Puchong Road began to take shape under the watchful
stewardship of Mr Singarayan.
The statue of Our Lady of Lourdes,
previously housed in the old demolished chapel was then brought to the
Sadly Mr Singarayan did not live to see
the official opening of the new chapel. He passed away peacefully on 20
The new chapel at 11 1/2th-Mile, named in
honour of Our Lady of Lourdes was graciously opened by His Grace
Archbishop Emeritus Tan Sri Dominic Vendargon on 25 February 1960.
This Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes served
as the focal point for the Catholic community in need of a house of
worship and a centre for fellowship.
Unfortunately, this too had to be
demolished in 1995, this time because development moved in.
So began another of three location moves,
first to the Seri Setia Construction Office in Pusat Bandar Puchong,
then across the highway to a shoplot nearby, at 27G, Jalan Bandar Tiga,
and onward to the present premises, at 5G, Jalan Industri PBP 1/2, Taman
Industri Pusat Bandar Puchong (13th-Mile Puchong Road) in
October 2001 when the lease on the old shoplot expired.
The note of cheer in this string of
dislocations is that the present chapel faces its future church grounds.
Each Sunday, we can look across at the construction site, and dream of
the day when we can offer praise in a church big enough to accommodate
all who are community.
Fundraising for the project has reached
about the halfway mark. With the fervent efforts of sister churches in
the P J district namely, St Ignatius, Assumption and Francis Xavier, and
well wishers from around the Klang Valley and beyond, the church that
had its modest origins in the estate can now look to the day of its
completion. That in the one instance will be fulfillment and advent.
Information courtesy of Mr Francis Singarayan,
son of Mr M Singarayan, and Mr Seenivasam Venugopal, a Hindu brother.
History researched, compiled and edited: Louis Martin · Peter S Thomas ·
Walter Joseph · Audrey Louis · Melinda Louis.