Church of St Francis of Assisi

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Church of St Francis of Assisi

200 Boon Lay Avenue, Singapore 649964

Website: http://www.sfa-parish.org.sg/

Father Thomas’ dream came true when Catholics from both chapels were brought together as one at The Church of St Francis of Assisi when it was officially blessed and opened on 11th Dec 1976.

By Francis Mane

The Jurong of the 1950s and 60s were surrounded by many who were either vegetable or poultry farmers, or were fishermen. Others were employees of the nearby Nantah University (Nanyang Technological University), the BBC relay station, the telecommunication stations and the British Transport Base (now known as Jurong Camp).

To serve mainly the Chinese and Indian Catholics in the area, Father Joachim Teng from the Church of St Joseph-Bukit Timah built a wooden chapel named after Our Lady of Fatima. Located at Tuas End 18th milestone, it was the only Catholic chapel from Jalan Jurong Kechil to Tuas End. It was later shifted to Gek Poh Road village along Old Jurong Road 13 ¼ milestone and known as the Chapel of St Francis of Assisi in 1969 till it was resettled at Boon Lay Avenue in December 1976.

Father Thomas Pasquale, an Italian Franciscan priest, who spoke fluent Mandarin, was appointed as the first parish priest. During this time, the Mobile Clinic, operated by the Canossian Sisters and Catholic Welfare Services, was also mobilised to dispense basic medicine to the families in need living in the Tuas villages. Alongside the clinic would be parishioners from the St Vincent de Paul Society who were present to distribute food to the people.

With the rapid development of the Jurong Industrial Estate, the Taman Jurong Catholic Chapel was opened together with the Young Christian Workers (YCW) Centre in 1967 at Hu Ching Road. Both were meant to serve the needs of the local and migrant workers in the area, with Father Patrick Goh as the chaplain.

Fr Thomas is seen greeting Mr Lee Kuan Yew who dropped in to the chapel during his visit to Tuas in 1964.

Fr Thomas is seen greeting Mr Lee Kuan Yew who dropped in to the chapel during his visit to Tuas in 1964.

With increasing number of Catholics from the Chapel of St Francis of Assisi and the Taman Jurong Catholic Chapel, Father Thomas saw the need for a further extension by merging both chapels at one centralised location.

Father Thomas’ dream came true when Catholics from both chapels were brought together as one at The Church of St Francis of Assisi when it was officially blessed and opened on 11th Dec 1976.

In the aftermath of the Spyros fire at the Jurong Shipyard on 12th October 1978, both Father Patrick and Father Thomas were invited to celebrate mass on the grounds of the Jurong Shipyard. Parishioners were also rallied to support the families of those injured and killed in what was to be Singapore’s worst industrial accident.

To better serve the new community into one big family, the first Parish Mission for the church was organised in 1982, which also coincided with the climax of the 8th centenary of the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi in October 1982.  To foster better friendship and bonding within the communities, the 1st Parish Renewal Experience (PRE) was held in the year 1986.

With the new set up of the Parish Pastoral Council in 2007, a fulltime Youth worker, a Pastoral Coordinator and a Parish Secretary were engaged to activate the formation of the youth and the Pastoral needs of the Parish.
By the late 1990s, the ever expanding Parish went through renovation works that were completed in 2001.

One unique point about the Church is that, because of its history, it celebrates two feast days namely, the Feast day of Our Lady of Fatima as well as the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi.  Another special outreach to the Boon Lay community which started on 2nd April 2010 is the Soup Kitchen. It serves free food for the poor and needy in the area. Today, the parish, led by Father John Lau, continues to serve the community, serving God as one big family.


This historical narrative was written by Mr Francis Mane, a long-time parishioner of the Church of St Francis of Assisi, who witnessed these events that had happened.

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