The Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the oldest place of worship in Hougang. Its history began in 1852 when Les Mission Étrangères de Paris (MEP) in France, sent its first missionary, Father Ambroise Maistre, to Hougang. Father Maistre obtained land from the colonial government and established an attap chapel in 1853 to serve the growing Teochew Catholic population. Initially known as the Church of St. Mary, the chapel was later reconstructed into a brick building.
In 1901, the mission built a new church designed in Neo-Gothic style, complete with pointed arches and ribbed vaults. Renamed Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the building saw further additions of side transepts, a sanctuary and a sacristy in 1933. The marble statue of the Immaculate Conception of Mary in front of the church was gifted by Sultan Ibrahim of Johor and the statue was received with a procession and blessed in 1946.
During World War II, the church served as a place of refuge for villagers. It also played an important role in providing education for the young in the area. Several prominent schools were started on the grounds of the church, including present-day Holy Innocents’ High School, Montfort Junior and Secondary School, and CHIJ Our Lady of the Nativity.
In 2005, the church was gazetted as a National Monument. Today, the strong historical links between the Teochew community and the church are still evident in the Teochew mass held by the church every week.
From National Monuments to memories of diverse communities who call Hougang home, these three thematic trails are designed to bring you on a journey of discovery. Explore Hougang beyond its modern housing estates, trace its stories through its built heritage, and get to know how it transformed from kampongs into the suburb it is today.
Explore the Suggested Short Trail Routes:
- Landmarks of Hougang, 1 hour with public transport
- Architectural Gems, 1 hour 45 min with public transport
- Institutions of Service, 1 hour 30 min with public transport