For today we come before You, to dedicate to Your Lasting service this house of prayer, this temple of worship, this home of which we are nourished by your word and sacraments.
Fr. Michael Seet A Swee, born in 1883, was the “architect” who built the church of Holy Name of Mary, Permatang Tinggi. He ordained a priest in 1911 at Batu Gajah. He was the parish priest of the church of Holy Name of Mary in 1914-1919 and 1921-1937. He died in 18.6.1946. According to his memoir, he stepped out in faith to build the church with only $7000 in hands. From the parishioners of Permatang Tinggi he raised $2012. He reached out as far as Bangkok to raise $1779 and Singapore $10219. The parishioners of Permatang Tinggi contributed 400 days of labour, 10 days each family. The whole church was built with cement bricks which were made on the spot with the sand found here. The stained glass windows of St. Anne and St Joachim and the 6 statues on the pillars were re-cycle items taken from the church of the Assumption, Penang. The Statue of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception above the high altar was taken from former old church. Fr. Michael Seet only bought the statues of Sacret Heart, St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary (Black Madona). The total cost of building the church was $21816.64. Fr. Michael Seet was very proud that Andrew Teoh Yew Chye could construct the Rose Windows, the High Altar and the spiral staircase.
The bells, Do (Andretta), Mi (Carolina) and So (Attonia), were sponsored ($750) by Chan Tek Yee from Singapore. Fr. Michael Seet wished that his successor could buy the other Re and Fa bells when the parish is able to. Then on the feast days beautiful harmony could be heard.
The late Teoh Yew Chye was the contractor of the Church of Holy Name of Mary at Permatang Tinggi in 1928 when he was just 23 years old. The then Bishop was so impressed with his work and recommended him to build churches in Butterworth and Taiping, IJ Sisters convent schools in Tanah Rata, BM, SG Petani and La Salle Brother schools in Teluk Intan, St Xavier’s Branch School in Penang and large extension of St Michael Institution, Ipoh.
The Church of Holy Name of Mary was based on Gothic architecture design originated from France which often features spires, pinnacles, decorative sculptures, large windows which have tracery such as rose window and window with stained glass. A characteristic of Gothic Church is its height, the verticality suggesting an aspiration to Heaven. All the main building structures were built and designed locally such as the spire, unique spiral staircase, the tracery pattern ceiling and the rose windows. The bell tower together with the spire is 90 feet high. The spire was constructed with hard wood and plank. The asbestos ceiling was painted with distemper of different colours.
The Holy Name of Mary Church has existed for 85 years. It was built by Fr. Michael Seet in over 3 years period with overwhelming support from parishioners. The Church Opening ceremony was on 1.11.1928 with Fr Michael Seet Bishop Dovals, priests and all parishioners. Photo below shows the original stairway which has been replaced by tarmac access.