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Asian Catholic Directory

Relic of Maria Goretti adorns Malaysia’s Marian Church

Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur Relic of Maria Goretti adorns Malaysia’s Marian Church

Church of Our Lady of Lourdes is a must visit for Asian Catholics who revere Mother Mary and Italian teenage martyr Maria Goretti.  

This white church dedicated to Mother Mary in Klang Valley, an industrial and commercial hub, resembles the famous Marian shrine in Lourdes, France. It also holds the first-class relic of one of the youngest saints of the Catholic Church. A first-class relic is the body or fragments of the body of a saint, usually pieces of bones, flesh, or blood. 

In 2015, Archbishop Julian Leow of Kuala Lumpur placed the relic of the saint on the church’s altar, seven years after local Catholic celebrated the golden jubilee of the church. About 1,300 Catholics attended the ceremony. Catholic officials said they had to wait more than three years to acquire a body part of the saint, which was rare and difficult to obtain. Goretti is the patron saint for rape victims, purity, youth and forgiveness.

The interior of the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes Klang.

Catholic missionaries built the church, about 33 kilometers from Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, in 1928. Catholicism thrived among migrant communities – Chinese, Indian and Filipinos – who moved to the area to work in coffee plantations. At the beginning, the missionaries offered Sunday Mass in a small, wooden chapel. 

MEP missionary Father John Baptist Souhait, who became the parish priest in 1923, felt the need for a permanent church building. The priest studied architecture before he joined a seminary in France. So, he played a pivotal role in design and planning of the church, in line with the Basilica of Our Lady of Lourdes. 

This beautiful church is one of the most photographed monuments in Klang Valley. Later, the church added a Marian grotto and a presbytery to offer more space for worshippers and visitors. French Bishop Pierre Louis Perrichonblessed and opened the new church in 1928.

 Marian grotto

The Gothic-styled church has a main façade with twin towers with a pinnacle with a cross in the top. The façade has a beautiful rose window. A wooden crucifix hangs over the altar, reminding pilgrims about the suffering of Jesus in Calvery. The main attraction of the church is the statue of Blessed Virgin Maryadorned with the words: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” 

Church of Our Lady of Lourdes celebrates annual feast on February 11, when thousands of pilgrims flock to the church, to show their devotion to Mary and St. Maria Goretti.

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