The Cathedral of Macau (Catedral Igreja da Sé), also known as the Church of the Birth of Virgin Mary, is located on Cathedral Square in central Macau Peninsula. First built in 1576, it is within the Historic Center of Macau, and was included on the list of World Heritage Sites in 2005. People call it the ‘Great Church’; though it is not the largest, it is the most influential church in Macau. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, and Jesus Christ, it serves the second largest parish on Macau Peninsular, including Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, the South Bay, and Terminal Marítimo.
The Cathedral has a very long history. When first built in 1576, it was a small wooden chapel. In 1623, it was redesigned as a Cathedral. The extension in 1849 and the reconstruction in 1937 gave it a magnificent appearance which remains today. Whenever the local Catholics have any big celebrations, they hold them in the Macau Cathedral, showing the importance of the Cathedral in Macau people’s heart.
Visitors arrive at the spectacular facade after passing by a small fountain and a cross on the square in front of the Cathedral. The Cathedral consists of a main building and the Bell Tower. The main building has just one floor with a sloping roof and wooden truss. With a 39 feet (12 meters) high symmetrical-styled facade, the main building is constructed in typical neoclassical style. The main body of the Cathedral has an oblong shape, with a transept with chapels on each side. There are wooden Portuguese folding screens at the entrance to the Cathedral. With light green as the interior color, the indoor decoration of the main shrine basically keeps the reconstruction details of 1937, concise and majestic. The magnificent buildings and solemn atmosphere make people feel peaceful and equable in mind. Over and above its influence and attraction to Catholics, even a nonbeliever would be in awe standing in the Cathedral.
The main altar appears simple, for it just has stained glass windows as the background, but those bishops and devotees who remains are buried beneath the alter have brought immeasurable glory to the Cathedral. Some Catholic relics and monuments are restored in the Cathedral. Some famous religious paintings are also preserved in the Cathedral, these include St. John’s Baptism Picture and the Japanese Catholics Crucified in Nagasaki. The oldest wing of the transept incorporates a wooden vault with the Duteous Madonna enshrined in it.
The Bell Tower is next to the main building. It is about 43 feet (13 meters) high, and has three floors with a flat roof. The bell was made in Britain. Whenever there are important Masses, Feast Days, or weddings, the Bell will ring. The Bell last rang on April 6th, 2005 - to mourn the death of the Sanctus Ioannes Paulus PP. Ⅱ (John Paul II).
On the right of the Cathedral is the Bishop’s Mansion; which houses the highest administrative department of Catholic affairs in Macau.
Festival Activities: Every year on the first weekend of Lent, the Stations of the Cross enshrined in St. Augustine Church are paraded to the Cathedral and exhibited there for one day. It is one of the most important religious activities in the city.
Time for Mass and Rites:
1. Sunday Mass: 7:30, 9:00 in Cantonese
11:00 in Portuguese
18:30 in English
The first Sunday of every month: 15:30 in Latin
Saturday Mass: 18:00 in English
2. Weekday Masses: 7:30, 8:00 in Cantonese
18:00 in Portuguese
|Transportation||1. Take bus No. 3, 3A, 8A, 10, 10A, 10B, 11, 21A, 26A, 33 and get off at Avenida do Infante D. Henrique Station, and then walk to Macau Cathedral. |
2. Take bus No. 4, 6A and get off at Avenida de D. João IV Station.
3. Take bus No. 16 and get off at Avenida da Praia Grande Station (Times Business Center Station).
Recommended Nearby Attractions:
Ruins of St. Paul
St. Anthony’s Catholic Church
Camoes Garden (Jardim de Luís de Camões)
Lou Kau Mansion (Casa de Lou Kau)
Senado Square (Largo do Senado)
St. Domingo’s Church (Igreja de São Domingos)