The Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, Macalister Road, Penang (16 July, 2008)
The Church of Our Lady of Sorrows (GPS: 5.41423, 100.32679), originally Church of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, is a Catholic church originally intended for Chinese-speaking parishioners in Penang. Since then however, it now has more masses in English than in Chinese - in fact the only mass in Chinese is the one on Sunday, while the other two on Sunday and weekends are in English. In addition, there is also mass in Tagalog as well.
Church of Our Lady of Sorrows is part of the City Parish of the Roman Catholic Church. The church is located along Macalister Road, next to Heng Ee Primary School.
The history of the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows goes back to the founding of the British settlement in Penang. In 1786, when the British settlement on Penang was established, it is estimated that the Chinese population in Province Wellesley numbered around one hundred. By 1825, the number of Chinese in Penang had reached eleven thousand. A Catholic missionary by the name of Father J.B. Boucho arrived to do mission work here, between 1826 and 1843. He managed to convert a few of the Chinese settlers to Catholic, along with the priest of the Church of Immaculate Conception. However, the Chinese community did not have their own place of worship, unlike the Indian parishioners that already had a church of their own, the St Francis Xavier Church, since 1857.
Heng Ee Primary School along Macalister Road, beside the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows (22 May, 2011)
In 1886, Father Emile Barillon, young missionary who had learned Chinese, arrived in Penang from Singapore. He stayed at the Church of the Assumption while he went about preparing to build a church for the Chinese parishioners. The land purchased was at Macalister Road. A small church building, Church of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, was inaugurated in March, 1888.
The present building of the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows dates back to 1958, under the tenure of Father Philip Lee. Beside the church building is a 107 feet high bell tower. The next parish priest, Father Arthur Julien, was instrumental in establishing the Heng Ee School - the secondary school at Hamilton Road while the primary school within the church compound.
The present parish priest of the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows is Father Nelson Chitty. Mass times on Saturday are at 6.00 pm, Sunday 8.30 am, 10.15 am (Mandarin). To cater to the increasing Filipino population in George Town, a Filipino mass is also available at 11.30 am on every 1st and 3rd Sunday. Tuesday and Wednesday: 7.30 am. Thursday and Friday: 6.00 pm.
Church of Our Lady of Sorrows
33 Macalister Road
10400 George Town, Penang
Phone: 04 226 1502
It is possible to walk to the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows from the Komtar Bus Terminal. Take Tek Soon Street heading west to Penang Road, then turn left and go along Penang Road until Magazine Circus. Continue on Macalister Road until you see the church on your left.
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