Church of the Holy Cross
450 Clementi Avenue 1, Singapore 129955
The Church was named after the Holy Cross on which Jesus died, and the cross was also the theme around which the entire church was built.
The history of the Church of the Holy Cross started with a leaking underground pipe.
Buried more than 20 feet underground, it created a huge layer of mud in the soil, rendering it unsuitable for high-rise buildings and preventing it from becoming part of nearby Clementi New Town. The land was classified as an institutional site and in August 1977, a discreet notice in The Straits Times offered it for tender for religious purposes.
The Archdiocese submitted a successful bid but landed with having to tackle the problem of the subterranean lump of mud.
The man entrusted with the building of the church was Father Paul Munier. He received subsidies from the Holy See and from overseas charities, but more significantly, he also received money from future parishioners of the church. Father Munier formed a building fund committee of Catholics who had moved to Clementi in February 1978.
Father Nicholas Chia was appointed parish priest in August 1979 and he began celebrating mass for the Catholics in Clementi at the Chapel of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in Holland Road. That same year, the first Christmas mass concelebrated by Fathers Munier, Chia and Barthoulot was celebrated in the basement of the still uncompleted church. There were no chairs or Christmas decorations and the congregation then numbered only 150.
On 27th April 1980, the church, the first to be built under Archbishop Gregory Yong’s term, was officially opened. The Church was named after the Holy Cross on which Jesus died, and the cross was also the theme around which the entire church was built. The congregation therefore sat within a gigantic cross, so to speak, sheltered by a cross-shaped roof.
From 1988 to 1996, the increase in activities and in the number of parishioners made expansion and renovations necessary to cater to the increasing crowds and to make worship more conducive. An original cross sculptured by Brother Joseph McNally FSC using tyres, was replaced in 1990 when it proved to be too controversial and frightening. A simple wooden cross was then installed.
As the population around Clementi boomed as well as the expansion in the nearby tertiary institutions, the space for the Church again became limited. Plans to renovate the Church were then made and in December 2006, under the direction of Father Richards Ambrose, parish priest, renovations began in the main church.
In addition, a new 4-storey building was erected to cater to the pastoral needs of the church. New stain glass windows were put in place, alongside a newly designed translucent cross. Stained glass was installed to represent the Luminous mysteries of the Rosary. Eventually on 14th September 2008, on its feast day, the church was blessed by Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Chia, who, prior to becoming Archbishop, was the Holy Cross’ longest-service parish priest.