Macao’s Catholic Cathedral will close next month for about nine months for renovation, the Portuguese-language radio channel of public broadcaster TDM reported today.
According to the report, the project is estimated to cost around MOP 9 million (US$1.1 million). The report did not indicate the source of the estimate, nor how it will be financed.
The report cited the cathedral’s vicar, Fr Daniel Ribeiro, as saying that at the request of the government the project includes structural strengthening.
The concrete building of the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady was constructed in 1937, which replaced an edifice built in 1850 that was badly damaged by a typhoon in 1874. A small wooden chapel built in the present location was elevated to cathedral in 1623, according to information provided by the diocese.
The report also said that the installation of a large and weighty organ donated to the diocese will require structural strengthening of the nave.
Fr Ribeiro told Rádio Macau that the government requested the renovation project as some parts of the building are believed to be in risk of collapse. The report pointed out that some of the present building structure dates back to the 18th century.
Fr Ribeiro also said that from next month the Masses customarily celebrated at the Cathedral will take place at the nearby S. Domingos Church during the renovation project, following the same schedule.
According to the report, the renovated Cathedral is slated to reopen next June. However, Fr Ribeiro admitted that possible “complications” could delay the reopening.
Macau’s Catholic diocese, which was founded in 1576, comprises 11 churches in nine parishes. According to its website, the diocese runs 31 education establishments and 23 social service institutions.
An introduction to the diocese on the website estimates its flock at 30,000 or about 4.5 per cent of the population.