CPS RAFFLES (15 September 1991)

In mid-1990, with the intention of finding some solace during their hectic work schedule, three individuals, Vincent Lawrence, Kenneth Goh and Dennis Tang organised some Rosary sessions at one of the trading houses in the Raffles Place area. Fr Eugene Vaz agreed to act as the group’s initial spiritual director, giving advice, celebrating the Eucharist, as well as allowing the use of the Singapore Pastoral Institute at Queen Street as a venue to hold some of the Masses. In the following year, 1991, they approached Fr Terence to assist them in their spiritual growth. Rosary sessions were conducted and the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was introduced. Eventually, this gave way to the celebration of the Eucharist. The group of Catholics working in the Central Business District (Raffles Place area) got together, calling themselves “Catholics in the Market Place” (CIMP). They started to come together weekly for prayer, Rosary sessions and fellowship.

The CIMP decided to assist others who had the desire to celebrate the Eucharist to organise their own Eucharistic Celebrations. The first Eucharistic Celebration for the Raffles Place group was held on 15 September 1991 with an attendance of about 50 to 60 people in the auditorium of OCBC Building at Church Street. After the first celebration, the management refused to allow its premises to be used. The group moved to the basement training room of CNBP with the help of Henry Tan of ABN Amro, and then to the conference room of the Money Brokers at Standard Chartered Building. As the congregation grew and the conference room could not accommodate the larger numbers, a larger “permanent” venue was found at the Terrace in Victoria Concert Hall and from then on, lunchtime Masses were held there every Wednesday. As the Eucharistic Celebrations became a weekly affair, Fr Terence Pereira volunteered to be the regular celebrant. While at Victoria Concert Hall, weekly Eucharistic Celebrations attendance numbered approximately 100 to about 120. The two groups eventually merged to form CPS Raffles when CPS was established.

However, with Victoria Concert Hall undergoing major renovations since June 2010, a new venue had to be sourced. After many months of sourcing and trials, another “permanent” venue was found in a rented function hall at The 3rd Space in China Square Central. The function hall can accommodate up to 320 people comfortably. Currently, there are three masses at 11:30am, 12:15am and 1:15am and the biggest attendance is seen at 12:15am with a weekly average of 140 to 150 people. The total weekly attendance at CPS Raffles now stands at 250 to 280 people. On Days of Obligation, CPS Raffles is an ideal location for working Catholics in the Raffles Place and Marina Bay areas to participate in the Eucharistic celebrations.