History of the Parish
Our Lady of Lourdes Church, located in the Southern District of Hong Kong Island, was founded by Fr. J. Gaztelu and his compatriots from the Paris Foreign Mission Society (M.E.P.). As early as 1870, the Mission established Bethany House in Pok Fu Lam, and purchased a near-by building to set up a printing press for publication purposes. They called the building “Taikoo Lau”, next to which living-quarters were built for the workers of the press. Since then, the area gradually developed into a small village and it was named “the Village of Taikoo Lau” – the embryo of the present day Our Lady of Lourdes Church.
In 1886, Fr. J Gaztelu (M.E.P.) built a small chapel and an affiliated school by the side of “Taikoo Lau”. The latter provided schooling for children of the press employees. In 1896, a bigger church replaced the small chapel for public worship and the faithful in “The Village of Taikoo Lau” became the first parishioners of the new, maturing parish community.
In the course of forty odd years, a new church replaced the much run-down church premises. It was consecrated on February 11 (the Parish Feast Day) in 1938 and it was officially named Our Lady of Lourdes Church. In the post Second World War years, refugees from Mainland China swarmed into Hong Kong. This gave rise to numerous social problems.
In 1952, Fr. R. Chevalier (M.E.P.) then the Pastor established a number of Lay Associations such as the parish Legion of Mary, Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society and a parish credit union, to cope with the social needs and to render collective assistance to the community. During that period, Our Lady of Lourdes Church was not only the centre of Christian evangelization in Pok Fu Lam but also a place where immigrants from across the border could seek solution to alleviate their distress. Fr. Chevalier's selfless dedication to help the poor and the destitute and his proverbial sense of justice and equality were highly commended in the neighbourhood. He was fondly remembered as “The Living Buddha” (萬家生佛) for thousands of families. Between 1952 and 1954, the parish operated two clinics in Pok Fu Lam Village and the Village of Taikoolau and served over 2,000 villagers weekly.
By the end of the 1950s the parish encompassed the entire Pok Fu Lam, Kai Lung Wan, Gong Sin Wan, Tai Hou Wan and Lamma Island. In an area with a total population of approximately 18,000, 18% were baptized Catholics.
In 1969, the Paris Foreign Mission Society handed Our Lady of Lourdes Church (together with its whole plot of land) over to the Diocese and its administration to the Bishop of Hong Kong. Fr. Chevalier was thus the last M.E.P. missionary to assume pastoral responsibilities in the parish. In the few years that followed, the parish did not have a proper place for worship: the Daily morning mass was celebrated in the Precious Blood Convent Chapel and Sunday masses at the Precious Blood Primary School’s Hall. Later, Sunday English Mass was also celebrated at the Sacred Heart Canossian College in Chi Fu Close.
In 1982, Yu Chung Keung Second Memorial School was completed, comprising a brand new Our Lady of Lourdes Church which was consecrated in 1983. The new church is a single-storey round feature in pure white. Its innovative design and ultra-modern features give the church a lively and appealing outlook as well as bring new hopes and expectation to the parishioners. As an extended service, the Church also includes the Wah Fu Mass Centre located within the Wah Fu Precious Blood Primary School.