The Church in Post-War Singapore

(1945 – 1972)


Trace the footsteps of our founding Fathers as the Church grows from Mission to Church. Peek into the diary of an adventurous French priest in the humid jungles of Bukit Timah, or read about the fearsome Chinese secret societies who persecuted the early Christians and how the Church first nurtured the family unit in an immigrant society.

The First Catholic Chapel in Singapore

Father Jean-Marie Beurel, MEP Arrives in Singapore

Chapel of St Joseph in Kranji is Built

The Church of the Good Shepherd was Blessed and Opened

Persecution of Chinese Christian Converts

Building of a Small Church, São José

Establishing an English-Medium Mission School for Boys

Church of St Joseph is Built at Bukit Timah

The IJ Sisters Open the First English-Medium Catholic School for Girls

Church of Sts Peter and Paul is Built


The Church in Post-War Singapore

The Church in Post-War Singapore

1945 - 1972

1st June 1947

A new Bishop

Two years after Bishop Deval's death, Father Michael Olçomendy was appointed Bishop of Malacca and consecrated in the Cathedral on 1st June 1947.


Arrival of the Franciscan Missionaries of Divine Motherhood

"China Pioneers" Mother Angela and her Sisters from the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood arrived from China to take over the tuberculosis wards of Tan Tock Seng hospital. Their nursing care also extended to the Leprosy Settlement as well.


Marist Brothers arrive in Singapore

The Marist Brothers arrived in Singapore to supervise the educational programme of the Catholic High School. They went on to set up more schools for boys.


Catholic medical professional body set up

The Catholic Medical Guild was set up in 1952 with Father Joy SJ as the spiritual director.

19th September 1953

From Diocese to Archdiocese

The Diocese of Malacca which included Singapore, was raised to the status of an archdiocese. Bishop Olçomendy became the Archbishop of Malacca-Singapore.

April 1959

Beginnings of Catholic Welfare Services

The inaugural meeting of Catholic Welfare Services took place on 20th April 1959. The President was Archbishop Michael Olcomendy, and his two vice-presidents, Monsignors Noel Goh and Hippoloyte Berthold. Dr Joseph Ee Peng Liang was the Chairman, Mr Cyril Chew and Brother Albert SG, were the honorary secretary and treasurer respectively.


Rise of Catholic Social Study Groups

Several Catholic Social Study Groups were set up to encourage Catholics to discuss social issues, but also to meet and socialize. These include Catholic Workers Movement and the Young Catholic Students Movement.

1st Oct 1961

Church of St Michael celebrates its first mass

The first mass was celebrated at St Michael’s on 1st October 1961, with Father John Lei as parish priest, in a two-story house purchased for the church. This was one of the first parishes in Singapore that was formed to serve a specific territory instead of a linguistic group.


Rose Villa opens

Rose Villa opened in response to the growing number of unmarried mothers who were approaching the Good Shepherd Sisters for shelter during their pregnancy.


Students do their part too!

Students from Catholic secondary schools were recruited in 1964 to join the Catholic Welfare Services' Workers' Corp to bring cheers to needy patients of the Kwong Wai Sui Free Hospital and to distribute ready-made food to them. The first group of members came from Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus, St Anthony's Convent and St Joseph's Institution.

16th April 1966

Jalan Kayu has a CWS Social and Welfare centre

Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Mr Chan Chee Seng officially declared the Catholic Welfare Services' Social and Welfare Centre in Jalan Kayu open. Its principal relief function was for the distribution of food to the needy in the Yio Chu Kang, Jalan Kayu and Seletar Base area. The centre closed on 31st March 1982.

16th September 1967

Going mobile to rural Singapore

The Mobile Clinic, managed by the Canossian Sisters, began the provision of medical services in three rural areas with one visit a week. Visits started for Tuas Village and Jalan Kayu in 1967 and later for Changi in 1968. The Mobile Clinic was phased out at the end of 1979 when more Government outpatient clinics were opened.

August 1969

Nazarene centre to reach out to the former Bukit Ho Swee Victims

The Bukit Ho Swee Community Service Project, better known as the Nazarene Centre, was initiated by the combined efforts of the priests of St Bernadette, an Anglican Pastor and the Sisters of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. This was in response to a felt need to improve the living conditions of the residents in low-cost housing built for needy families affected by the Bukit Ho Swee fire.

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From Mission To Church


The Church in Modern Singapore