The Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
The Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was built in 1953 after a delay of over a decade due to the outbreak of World War II and the Japanese Occupation. It served the Catholics living in the Serangoon 5th and 6th mile as well as the Paya Lebar districts. The parish was actually formed long before there was an actual church building. The priests would celebrate Mass at a parishioners’ home, or at the St Joseph’s Convent School hall.
Fr Michel Bonamy, then vicar-general and parish priest of the Cathedral, led the building effort, while Fr Moses Koh served as its first parish priest up to 1971. The congregation numbers were initially modest but then in the 1970s, there was a growth spurt. At first, the parish was able to make do with some simple extensions to the main church building. It would also sometimes borrow space for activities such as catechism classes from its neighbours, St Joseph’s Convent and St Gabriel’s Primary School.
But by the 1990s, making do was no longer enough. The Catholic population in the area burgeoned with the establishment of new satellite towns in Serangoon Central, Hougang and Serangoon North.
New Church Building
A new church building was commissioned in 1999, along with a columbarium, presbytery, parish centre and retreat centre. In keeping with the ‘kampong spirit’ of the church, there were no high buildings. Today, it has just one tall structure – the belfry – which stands as a beacon for the community.