The Sacred Heart of Jesus Chapel: 1953-1956
The Chapel was rebuilt from an abandoned transmission station of Rediffusion (the first TV station in Hong Kong) which was purchased by Rev.Amborgio Poletti (PIME) in 1953. A priests' dormitory and a meeting room were added to the back of the building. The compound was first known as the "Catholic Office of Shatin" and was under the auspices of the Tai Po Parish. In 1954, it was renamed the Sacred Heart of Jesus Chapel. Also in that year, Rev Valeriano Fraccaro, an Italian priest, came and began serving as Parish Priest1.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus Church: 1956-1977
The Church building was originally a privately-owned villa called "Jade Residence". However, the occupation permit was not issued by the government, probably because certain requirements for floor area were not met. On knowing this, Rev Valeriano Fraccaro and Rev. Amborgio Poletti decided to purchase this two-storey building from the owner. After negotiations with the Government, Rev Mencarini PIME of the Diocese secured permission to turn Jade Residence into a church. The structure had a floor area of 28,000 square feet and two storeys. The ground floor was the church and the first floor was the priests' dormitory. After daily mass, the church space was partitioned to provide a venue for elementary literacy classes. On the first floor there were two other classrooms for children. The expansion in space attracted more people. In the years that followed, about 9 -10 catechumens were baptized at Easter, at Christmas and on the Feast Day of the parish. Hence the number of Catholics in Shatin grew steadily2.
St. Alfred's Church: 1977 – Now
As Shatin was developed into a new town and a number of housing estates were completed, the district population increased rapidly. It became apparent that the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church could no longer accommodate the growing number of parishioners. In 1966, after Rev.John Vigano knew that Ng Wah Catholic Secondary School in San Po Kong had just been completed with donations from the Catholics in Germany, he discussed with the Hong Kong Bishop to seek help from the German Bishop in order that a new church could be built in Shatin to cater for the needs of the growing Catholic population. With the support of the German Bishop and the donations from the parishioners of Essen, Germany, St. Alfred's Church, named after a German bishop saint at the request of the generous donors, was built on the site of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, which was dismantled in 1974. During the construction period, the Parish rented a residential unit at On Ting Terrace, Tung Lo Wan, Shatin, for use as the temporary church office and priests' dormitory. Sunday masses were celebrated at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Kindergarten. St. Alfred's Church was consecrated and officially opened by Bishop John Baptist Wu on 27 March 1977. ________________________________________________________________________
1[Reference material from HK Diocese website: Clippings from Kung Kao Po: The photo showed the Sacred Heart of Jesus Chapel in Shatin built in 1953. Rev Valeriano Fraccaro, its first Parish Priest, was looking at the chapel at a distance across the river. (Source: Kung Kao Po) URL: http://www.catholicheritage.org.hk/en/catholic_building/st_alfred_s_church/archive/index_id_477.html]
2[Reference material from HK Diocese website: Clippings from Kung Kao Po: Bishop Bianchi officiated the opening ceremony of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Sha Tin and appealed for devotion to the Sacred Heart Bishop Bianchi officiated the opening ceremony of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Sha Tin and appealed for devotion to the Sacred Heart (Source: Kung Kao Po) URL: http://www.catholicheritage.org.hk/en/catholic_building/st_alfred_s_church/archive/index_id_526.html]
Lord Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)