St. Anthony Church and From Chinatown to Pasar Seni Station KL
Kuala Lumpur (KL) has few Catholic churches. The archdiocese’s Mother Church and thus, seat of its Archbishop, is St. John’s Cathedral. Unfortunately, I’ve never visited St. John’s. The current Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur is Archbishop Tan Sri Datuk Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam, having been appointed by Pope John Paul II on May 24, 2003.
After a satisfying few days in Kuching (Sarawak), I finally found a catholic church near Jalan Pudu. I walked towards Tung Shin Hospital, crossed the street then turned right when I saw Jalan Robertson, an empty street that’s isolated from city hustle. There were few parked vehicles, and derelict buildings. Just a block from Pudu, I found a white church – St. Anthony Church.
There has so far been 8 St. Anthonys which includes a Diocletian martyr, Kiev’s Cave saint, a Florentian Antoninus, and the founder of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I have a hunch KL’s is St. Anthony of Padua (Lisbon, Portugal). St. Anthony is known to have become the “quickest” saint in the history of the Catholic Church because he was canonized by Pope Gregory IX less than a year after his death on the 30th of May of 1232. St. Anthony is known in Brazil and Portugal as the patron saint of marriage because legend has him helping couples on a rough patch. Meanwhile, In a town in Tamil Nadu called Uvari, the church of St. Anthony is home to an ancient wooden statue that is said to have cured the entire crew of a Portuguese ship suffering from cholera.
Unfortunately for me, KL’s St. Anthony Church seemed to be shut most of the time, except during Sunday mass. When we got there, we walked around the compound, but there was nothing there to see. But it nevertheless made me feel good. Without much activity (or people for that matter), the area felt a bit eerie, with no shops nearby, except for a garbage truck that took forever to load their garbage nearby. Jalan Robertson was a dead street, which we found unusual since it was just a block from Jalan Pudu. For more information, please call 02-2141-4172 once you’re in the capital.