Saint Joseph's Church is a Roman Catholic church in Singapore. It is located along Victoria Street in the Rochor Planning Area, within the Central Area of Singapore's central business district. The church was constructed from 1906–12 with its foundation stone laid two years earlier. The building was built in the Gothic style by the Portuguese Mission. Saint Joseph's Church is most noted for its annual Good Friday procession.
The history of Saint Joseph's Church and that of its predecessor, the Church of São José, both built on the same site, is inextricably linked with the Portuguese Mission. Father Francisco da Silva Pinto e Maia of Porto, head of the Portuguese Mission, arrived from Goa in 1826 and founded the Mission in Singapore. When he died in 1850, he left his money and some land for the building of a small church. His funds were augmented by a gift from the King of Portugal and the church was called São José. It was built by the man who succeeded him, the Reverend Vincente de Santa Catarina from 1851 to 1853.
In 1906, the Church of São José was pulled down. The present Saint Joseph's Church, completed in 1912, was built on the same site by the notable firm Swan & MacLaren.
Situated in the church compound and attached to the Mission was Saint Anthony's Boys' and Girls' School. It was first opened by Father José Pedro Santa Ana da Cunha in 1879 as Saint Anna's School in a small house along Middle Road. The school moved into the church compound in 1886 and changed its name. In 1893, separate boys' and girls' schools were formed. In 1999, the Portuguese Mission handed over Saint Joseph's Church to the Archdiocese of Singapore.
Saint Joseph's Church was gazetted a national monument on 14 January 2005. From 4 September to 12 November 2006, the church was one of the exhibition venues for the Singapore Biennale, Singapore's inaugural international biennale of contemporary art.
Saint Joseph's Church was built to accommodate 1,500 worshippers, in a Gothic Revival style with a portico supported by four columns and decorated by large marble statues of Saint Joseph, Saint John of God and Saint John de Brito. There are also an outdoor shrine to Our Lady of Fatima and azulejos (Portuguese decorated tiles) on the walls of the church depicting the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. It had a low square tower and bell turret.
The plan of the church was laid in the form of a Latin cross. The interior is a single large space roofed by a wooden barrel-vault instead of a gothic-style ceiling. Neither the nave nor the transepts have aisles. It is currently painted in white, with blue details, like the exterior. The west front has three towers: a central octagonal tower capped by a dome flanked by two smaller towers.
The main altar of the church is dedicated to Saint Joseph and the other altars are dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima and Saint Anthony of Padua. There is a host of saints in the form of statues standing in canopied niches and stained glass windows in the church.
The church was once home to a pipe organ, built in 1888 by Forster and Andrews, but it has since been dismantled. 2 and 3 manual Allen Digital Organs were installed in 2005 and 2009 respectively.
Saint Joseph's Church and its congregation continues to practice many Portuguese-inspired religious traditions, such as the Holy Week commemoration, with the re-enactment of the passions and death of Christ on Good Friday. Traditional Portuguese devotions, such as the devotions to Our Lady of Fatima (on the 13th day of each month), to Saint Joseph, to Saint Jude Thaddeus, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to Saint Anthony of Padua (the patron saint of Portugal), are also practiced and maintained alive, sometimes celebrated with candlelight processions around the church compound and attended by thousands of Catholics.
Today the church is served by Father Alex Chua , with daily masses as well as Sunday masses. The following is mass schedules
Dhoby Ghaut CC1/NE6/NS24; Brass Basah CC2; Butis DT14/EW12
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St. Joseph's Ch - Stop ID 01013: 130 / 133 /145 / 197 / 851 / 960 /NR7
Hotel Grand Pacific - Stop ID 01012: 2 / 7 /12 / 32 / 33 / 61 / 63 / 80 / 175 / NR7