Novena Church in Singapore gets 'Gothic' style makeover

Novena Church in Singapore is being restored and is reopening soon with a Gothic style structure.

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Representational image of a church Reuters

The restored Novena Church constructed at 300, Thompson road in Singapore has been beautifully designed in the Gothic style and it stands as the most attractive and amusing structure, awing people who are coming to capture some incredible pictures.

Novena Church, also known as the Church of St Alfonsus, was one of the most archetypal and important churches in Singapore, However, it was closed down for a period of three years for renovation. The church will finally reopen and the first mass will be held on September 29 at 6:30pm.

The renovation of the 67- year-old church costs a total amount of $54 million. The building is fully constructed with Limestone and Granite in the inside. The church now includes high arches, intricate columns, a dome and 18 stained glass windows.

The sole priority for the renovation of the church, run by the Redemptorist Order, was to expand the seating capacity for the worshippers.

"Services used to be quite uncomfortable and humid with worshippers straining their neck for a view of the pulpit. However the seating capacity has now almost doubled from 800 to 1500," said Father Tan the Priest in charge of the church told the Straits Times.

Air-conditioners have also been installed. A special scent called Aroma Di Novena, has even been produced to be diffused throughout the room. The anti-viral and anti-bacterial scent features the essential oils of frankincense, rosemary, lavender and citrus.

"We made changes so worshippers would feel comfortable", further added Father Tan.

The church usually gathers about 1500 visitors across its 10 Saturday's services with hundreds crowding outside

It is the only church that offers multiple Novena session, a prayer gathering which happens for nine days. The key reason why people go to worship in this church is that they believe in the intercession of Mary.

The architectures stated the reconstructed design of the church somewhat bears a resemblance to "reminiscent of European churches", which is a rare designed for Catholic Churches made practically for the comfort of the worshippers.

Melvin Gamayot of CGN Architects said he experienced a lot of stress while working for this project and said, "I usually design condominiums and commercial projects such as hotels, so I had a lot of sleepless nights coming up with a design and communicating this to contractors."

"Inspired by the palm trees, I clad the columns of the main sanctuary hall in curved segments of limestone to create the appearance of a cluster of thin palm tree trunks with ribs, reaching for the heaven." explained Gamayot, having been inspired by bible scripture of Solomon's Temple.

A three-storey building, a 200 seat auditorium and a multipurpose hall have been created to replace the old building which was termite-invaded.

An underground car parking space has also been included and this was where large portion of the funds went said, Father Tan. The fund was raised by organising activities such as gala dinner and marathon.

Father Tan also said "I hope that the church will become a "shrine and home where all are welcome to find prayer and peace, healing and hope, life and love".

Some worshippers have called the reopening of the revamped church as "homecoming".

"The new building is beautiful", exclaimed Retiree Josephine Ee, 54.

The new building will be blessed by Archbishop William Goh on Oct 25.