Italian stained glass craftsmen drafted to help construct new RM38 million St Peter’s Church in Padungan

From left: Poh and Chin together with Pembena Emas Sdn Bhd managing director James Ling Chung and general manager Helen Teng at the earth-breaking ceremony.

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Oct 20: Construction on the new RM38 million St Peter’s Church in Padungan has begun.

Scheduled to be completed within the next four years, the Gothic architecture-inspired building is set to be a prominent landmark in Kuching city, beautified with stained glass windows made by Italians who are already in the city.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kuching Archbishop Simon Poh Hoon Seng officiated at the earth-breaking ceremony and the blessings for the new church site together with St Peter’s Church Rector Reverend Fr Vincent Chin today.

From left: Chin and Poh on behalf of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kuching together with Pembena Emas Sdn Bhd managing director James Ling Chung and general manager Helen Teng exchanging the official documents for the construction of the new St Peter’s Church.
An artist’s impression of the new St Peter’s Church.

Chin, who has an architecture background, said the design of the new church was inspired by the ideas and concepts of the churches he visited around the world.

“The first and foremost consideration in our minds when we decided to build the new church was to ensure that the faithful have a conducive environment of worship. The existing church was built in 1949 and can only accommodate about 800 parishioners. In view of the growing population of Catholics going to church especially during festivals, this has necessitated the building of a bigger church,” Chin said.

An artist’s impression of the new St Peter’s Church.
An artist’s impression of the new St Peter’s Church at night.

He also disclosed that the existing church’s foundation is beginning to give way, resulting in many signs of cracking all over the building.

“The building construction will take about two years, while another two years are needed for interior and furnishings. The new church design, based on Gothic church architecture with stained glass as the main feature, will take quite some time to do,” he said, adding that the Italian designers and manufacturers will be based in Kuching to do the work.

“The interior features will take a lot of time and we want to make sure it is done properly. We’ve specially employed expert workers in stained glass from Italy. It is very extensive work. They are already here to do the work, not at other places and sending the finished product to Kuching.”

One of the stained-glass designs for the church.

Once completed, the church which is being built by Pembena Emas Sdn Bhd will have the capacity to house about 1,200 worshippers at any one time.

There will also be a multipurpose hall with an attached office block, an eight-storey hostel for an international school, a four-storey formation centre, a two-storey columbarium and ample parking, all contained in an area of almost 12 acres. — DayakDaily