The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes along Ophir Road may seem like any other church on the outside.
Built in 1888 and gazetted as a national monument, it was most recently in the news after a private school operator failed to make rental payments to the church for using two levels of the compound's annexe. Eventually, the entire debt was waived and the school operator was spared from legal action.
About 80 per cent of the church's 4000 strong congregation are migrant workers, mostly from Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka, making it "undoubtedly the poorest Catholic parish in Singapore", according to one of the Catholic Archdiocese's spokesman.
The church mainly depends on monetary collections at Sunday masses which are used for maintenance, administrative purposes and for helping the migrant community.
The church's large migrant population has led them to undertake various social initiatives aimed to help these workers, with the help of the parish's priests, Lourdes Tamil Committee and Welfare Committee for Tamil Migrants.