I was happy because of my visit to Bangkok Cathedral. My soul was awashed with the beauty of that church. However, I felt that something is still missing. My day's adventure is not yet complete because I didn't get an ample time for prayers and contemplation. Sister Vianney, who helped me enter the being-renovated cathedral, only gave me few minutes to pray. I really wanted to pray for an hour or at least to finish praying the Rosary. My soul yearned for solitude in front of the Lord's altar.
I was walking along Thanon Charoen Krung when I spotted a street marker pointing the way to “Kalawar Church”. Since it was still early afternoon, I decided to go to the church with a hope that it is Catholic.
I discovered that the church is inside the compound of Kularbwittaya School. I am glad that I was not prohibited to enter. I knew that the church is a Catholic church the moment I saw it.
I also knew, the moment I laid my eyes on this church, that it will be another beautiful Catholic church.
The official name of the church is Holy Rosary Church but its original name is Kalawar Church. Kalawar or kalawario is the Thai word for Mt. Calvary, where Jesus Christ was crucified.
If Bangkok Cathedral is a Romanesque styled church then Kalawar Church is a Neo-Gothic church. The differences between Bangkok Cathedral and Kalawar Church is a reflection their history. The cathedral served as the home of the missionaries Society of Foreign Mission of Paris. The Kalawar Church, on the other hand, was the church of the Portuguese who rejected the French missionaries.
The current structure was built during the reign of King Rama V, a.k.a. Chulalongkorn.
If the exterior is beautiful then the interior is breath taking. The beautiful designs of the ceiling and the altar was enough to make me kneel in reverence and almost made me shout. I suddenly felt a joy for seeing something that is both elegant and holy.
I also like the altar because the tabernacle is at the center, which is its rightful place. The Santa Mesa (holy table) is engraved with the image five holy women; namely Saint Agatha of Sicily, Saint Agnes, Saint Cecilia, Saint Lucy, and Saint Filomena. These five women was brutally killed because they didn't denounce Jesus Christ.
At the center of the altar is the image of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary with the infant Jesus handing out rosaries to Saint Dominic and Saint Catherine of Siena.
I spent around two hours praying. I am missing a lot of things and people in my home. I felt the weight of being a foreigner in a place that I can never call “home”. It is good that God helped me find this church so that I can converse with Him in solitude.
|Jesus Christ and His Sacred Heart|
What I like with Kalawar Church is its remoteness. It is like a little secret in the middle of Bangkok. Tourists are rare so I wasn't distracted by the camera flashes and the noise of disrespectful tourists. The only “distraction” that I experienced was when the altar was being prepared for the evening Mass.
|Saint Joseph and the young Jesus.|
There are beautiful images inside this church but the most precious of these is the image of Our Lady of the Temple, which I forgot to take a photo. It was said the image was brought by Catholics when they fled the original church in Ayutthaya during the Burma-Siam War. My favorite image is this image of Saint Michael the Archangel:
The ceiling above the pew is covered with cloth that has beautiful design.
However, the ceiling above the altar is much better.
The ceiling depicts the many titles of Mama Mary like the “Seat of Wisdom”, “Tower of Ivory” and “Star of the Morning”.
The Kalawar Church is very away from my place in Thailand but it served as my refuge. It is now my favorite church in Thailand. It is beautiful and the best of all is that it is very quiet, which is perfect for those moments when I want to hear His voice.
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