The History of The Holy Rosary Church

Little is recorded of the history of the church. But of what little is known, we get the glimpse of the missionary spirit at the turn of the century which led to the building of the Holy Rosary Church, and the growth of the church in keeping with the development of Kuala Lumpur.

But more than the physical growth of the church building, the Holy Rosary Church grew in spirit, in the number of people who accepted God through the Catholic faith.

The Holy Rosary Church with its very pretty Gothic architecture was constructed by Father Francis Emile Terrien, a French missionary.

In 1903 Father Terrien was in charge of the Catholic Chinese community in Kuala Lumpur with the special mission of building a new church. He was assisted by Father Lambert.

To quote from an annual report written by Bishop Fee of the churches in Malaysia and Singapore in 1903: 'During the Lenten season I sent Father Lambert as assistant of Father Terrien to be together in charge of Kajang and the Chinese of Kuala Lumpur, a week after Fr. Terrien came to see me to tell me that the land next to the HIJ Convent (now the Telekom building at Brickfields Road) is for sale. We borrowed some money to put the first deposit. The parish of St. John contributed for one-third of the total and Fr. Terrier got the balance from the Chinese community. On 31st July the land was paid, the loan reimbursed and the plan for a new church prepared.

Father Lambert and Father Terrien's assistant drew up the plan and work went or non-stop for 18 months. Fr. Vignol, an administrator in the Catholic Churches of Malaysia wrote in his annual report: 'Across the town of Kuala Lumpur near the railway station we can see a building going up and two gentlemen working to prepare the fines' decorations of their church. There is Fr. Terrien and Lambert. How are they going with such work ? This is the question of everybody. But the good Lord has blessed 'their work and within a few months a new bishop, Mgr. Barillon, will bless the most beautiful of the churches of the diocese.

In November, 1904 the church was completed and it was blessed on Dec 18. Bishop Barillon. The church building was different from the present building. The roof of the Church was flat and the wings were not added till 1950. An older parishioner remembers that on the flat roof we usually put a 5 star paper and a bamboo contraption during Christmas with an oil lamp. There was no electricity then.' The parsonage was an attap building and the belfry where the bell was placed was on the ground on the left side the church.

Fr. Temen remained with the church till 1914. He was succeeded by Pr. E. Brossard who died in office in 1928 and was followed by a succession of priests. During the Japanese Occupation Father Girard was parish priest. Most parishioners of that time will remember him and his courage for he stayed on during those difficult times.

In 1950 the church was extended by Father Moses Koh. Whilst the church was being renovated, a temporary attap building and altar was erected on the present kindergarten playground behind the church. The wings were built and it was during this extension that the church obtained its existing building.

The renovations were completed in 1951 and blessed by Archbishop Olcomendy on Dec 7th 1951.

Currently the parish pastor is Fr. John Gnanapiragasam.


A brief History of the Rosary

It is usually suggested that the rosary began as a practice by the laity to imitate the monastic Office (Breviary or Liturgy of the Hours), by which monks prayed the 150 Psalms. The laity, many of whom could not read, substituted 50 or 150 Ave Marias for the Psalms. Sometimes a cord with counters on it was used to keep an accurate count.

The first clear historical reference to the rosary, however, is from the life of St. Dominic (+1221), the founder of the Order of Preachers or Dominicans. He preached a form of the rosary in France at the time that the Albigensian heresy was devastating the faith there. Tradition has it that the Blessed Mother herself asked for the practice as an antidote for heresy and sin.

One of Dominic's future disciples, Alain de Roche, began to establish Rosary Confraternities to promote the praying of the rosary. The form of the rosary we have today is believed to date from his time. Over the centuries the saints and popes have highly recommended the rosary, the greatest prayer in the Church after the Mass and Liturgy of the Hours. Not surprisingly, it's most active promoters have been Dominicans.

Rosary means a crown of roses, a spiritual bouquet given to the Blessed Mother. It is sometimes called the Dominican Rosary, to distinguish it from other rosary-like prayers (e.g. Franciscan Rosary of the Seven Joys, Servite Rosary of the Seven Sorrows). It is also, in a general sense, a form of chaplet or corona (also referring to a crown), of which there are many varieties in the Church. Finally, in English it has been called "Our Lady's Psalter" or "the beads." This last derives from an Old English word for prayers (bede) and to request (biddan or bid).


Some of the approved apparitions of our Blessed Virgin Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners, Now and at the hour of our death. Amen.


To find out more about these apparitions, please click here: