This beautiful church moves forward with its vision “to be a Christ-centred family that loves and serves one another with Joy and Humility”.
The history of the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea began in 1926 when the British Royal Navy opened its Naval Base in Sembawang. Foreign Indian workers were brought into work on the Base itself, and a significant number of these foreign workers were Malayalees and Tamil Catholic families. Masses for these Indian Catholics were first conducted in make-shift building structures within the Naval Base. This continued until 1946 when a former Japanese language school building situated at the end of Jalan Kedai and Canberra Road was handed over to the Catholic community to become what was known as the Naval Base Catholic Church.
The situation improved when Father Dominic Vendargon (who later became the first Bishop of Kuala Lumpur) was tasked to form an autonomous parish for the Naval Base workers and families in the area in 1949. One year later, Father Albert Fortier succeeded Father Vendargon to build a new church. After appealing to the British authorities, a piece of leasehold land within the naval base area was given for this new building.
Thus on 13th December 1953, a dedication ceremony of “Our Lady Star Of The Sea” was held. The Catholic community had by then grown to about one thousand eight hundred, comprising mainly of Chinese, Malayalees, Tamils and some Eurasians. In May 1954, the first Rosary Devotion was held to a packed congregation. During this special event, each decade of the Rosary was recited in a different language – English, Malayalam, Tamil and Teochew.
The Church celebrated its Silver Jubilee in 1978 and the following decade of the 1980s saw an expansion of having a parish hall added to the church, providing much needed space for catechism classes and other church activities. Sunday Church canteen, the Eucharistic Ministry and even the concept of the Neighbourhood Christian Community, otherwise commonly known as the NCCs, were initiatives spearheaded by Father Louis Amiotte-Schuet.
As the lease of the old church could no longer be extended by the British authorities, Father Amiotte also started the search for a new site for the church. This was eventually found at Yishun Street 22 and the new boat-shaped church was officiated by Archbishop Gregory Yong on 30th May 1992.
With the new building, new ministries like the Children’s Liturgy group and the Elder’s Group were also formed, and devotion to the Divine Mercy was started. The Church celebrated its 50th Anniversary on 1st March 2000. Now, in 2015, under the leadership of Father Greg van Giang, this beautiful church moves forward with its vision “to be a Christ-centred family that loves and serves one another with Joy and Humility”.