Catholic church to hold Tamil memorial service for worker who died on riot day

Freelance artist Suresh Vanaz leaving flowers in front of a tribute board set up in memory of accident victim Sakthivel Kumaravelu at the junction of Race Course Road and Tekka Lane. An Ophir Road Catholic church will hold a memorial Mass on Sunday f
Freelance artist Suresh Vanaz leaving flowers in front of a tribute board set up in memory of accident victim Sakthivel Kumaravelu at the junction of Race Course Road and Tekka Lane. An Ophir Road Catholic church will hold a memorial Mass on Sunday for Mr Sakthivel. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

An Ophir Road Catholic church will hold a memorial Mass on Sunday for the victim of a bus accident that sparked off a riot in Little India last week.

The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes will hold its special service at 6.30pm in memory of Mr Sakthivel Kumaravelu, 33, who died when he fell under a moving bus. A collection that will be taken during the Tamil-language service will be donated to the victim's family in Tamil Nadu.

The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, established in 1888, is one of the most active here in serving migrant workers from South Asia, said parish priest Father Augustine Joseph.

Some 1,500 Indian migrant workers gather there each week for Mass, counselling, and free meals on church grounds, he added.

"Although we are one of the smallest parishes in Singapore, we continue with our Mission to serve migrants and the poor, regardless of race, language or religion. Today, we serve a host of migrant workers from India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and more recently, even Africans."

Father Joseph added the church hopes to raise $12 million for its Lourdes Pastoral Centre in the next two years to cater to parishioners and growing numbers of migrant workers.

Churches of many denominations here have long served various groups of migrant workers in Singapore, including Filipinos, Indonesians, and Indian nationals.