Our Lady of Fatima: Church With Chinese Nuance in Jakarta

I visited this Church in July 2015. Five years ago, I tried to reach all churches at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Jakarta in #KelilingKAJ project. And I failed because only visit about 20 Churches before I became a father. When you became a father, you can’t spend time going around and forget your son. Haha.

This Church is also known as Toasebio Church, and the nearest TransJakarta bus stop is Glodok. From this bus stop, look for the black gated road. From there, walk and follow the instructions: the Ricci school signboard.

After walking for a few minutes, we will arrive at the Vihara. From there, turn left, then follow the road, and then you will see the Ricci school on the right side. The Toasebio Church is right next to the Ricci school. At first glance, the building is not much different from the Vihara.

The Toasebio Church building may be one of the oldest church buildings in Jakarta because it has been built since the 19th century. At that time, the building belonged to the Tjioe family. The building was purchased in 1950 and used as a church in 1955. The gold and red tabernacles are the former places of respect for the ancestors of this family. Its architecture is typical of Fukien (South China) so that it has been used as a cultural heritage since 1972. Being a cultural heritage is indeed a double meaning that the government recognizes. Still, then if you want to change its shape, you must have a permit—for example, the Bukittinggi Catholic Church. The building is also cultural heritage, but it doesn’t need to be renovated because there are not too many Catholic people.

The name Ricci for the school in the premises refers to Matteo Ricci, a Jesuit priest who spread Catholicism in mainland China. When you enter the church building, at first, it doesn’t feel like a church because the nuance is very typical of Chinese, including there are two lion statues on the front of the Church. Likewise, the red and gold ornaments that fill the building. The building is smaller than the Canisius College chapel, and certainly much smaller than in Mangga Besar. This Church is a form of inculturation with culture because of this Church located in Jakarta’s Chinatown.

Even though the building is ancient, the Toasebio Church cannot be separated from modernization. I didn’t see a microphone on the altar, but the Pastor’s voice was unmistakable. Then you can see a kind of CCTV camera at the top of the altar and the center of the Church. There is no need for a person to take a video because it is there and settled. There is also an LCD placed roughly above Jesus and the Blessed Mother. AIR CONDITIONING? Of course, there is.

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In regular times, before the COVID-19 pandemic, mass in Toasebio was offered on Saturdays at 6:00 p.m., and Sundays at 6:00 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 6:00 p.m. In Toasebio, there is also a Mass at 4:15 p.m. for Mass in Chinese. Similar to the Sacred Heart Church in Palembang, which also has a Chinese version.

Maria Cave is in the churchyard with a vast size. The building covers the story of Maria de Fatima, including the three children who got the vision depicted in the size of a real child. The Toasebio Church grounds are also car-free; most likely, the car park is in Ricci school.

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After mass in Toasebio, there are exciting choices for culinary noodles. Again, it reminds me of Palembang. When I finished a mass, you immediately went hunting for Jalan M Isa noodles. Glodok is indeed the center for culinary noodles. That’s the story five years ago. Jakarta’s current position is, on average, still online, or even if there is a mass, access is minimal. Yes, we hope the COVID-19 pandemic will pass soon.