Weizhou Catholic Church is located in Haicheng District, Beihai City. Weizhou Catholic Church is located in Shengtang Village, so it is also known as Shengtang Catholic Church. It is nestled among the green plantain forest and jackfruit forest on the Weizhou Island. It is one of the most magnificent churches in this area since the late Qing Dynasty.
Completed in 1880, the Weizhou Catholic Church was built by the missionary from the Foreign Mission in Paris, France. The church is a Gothic building, with a height of 21 meters and a total construction area of 774 square meters. The total area including the annex buildings is more than 2,000 square meters. It is the largest Catholic church in the coastal area of Guangxi. It was listed as the National Key Cultural Relics Protection Unit in 2001.
History of Weizhou Catholic Church
Its construction is related to the government’s policy -"reopening of the island" in 1867 of the Qing Dynasty. It provides an opportunity for the French priests to go to the island to preach.
According to historical records, the immigrants on the island at that time were almost all the Hakka people and people from other provinces, nearly 6000 people in total. About one third of them were the Roman Catholics. Due to the large number of the believers, the French priest Fan spent ten years building this church with the special coral stones in Shengtang Village in Beihai.
Features of Weizhou Catholic Church
The tall and majestic Catholic Church is large in scale and very imposing in the town. At the main entrance of the church is the beautiful bell tower, with a Roman-style spire.
The bell tower has a stone spiral staircase with more than 10 steps, which is very wide and can only hold one person to circle upstairs. On the top floor there is a large silver alloy clock made in 1889. It is said to be a gift from a French widow. At that time, the bell tone was able to reach to the entire Weizhou Island.
Every Sunday morning, when the believers from Shengtang Village and other places hear the bell, they will consciously and quietly walk into the prayer hall. The sun shines through the stained glass behind the altar room. The large arched windows on both sides of the hall make the interior of the church very gorgeous and colorful.
On the left side of the church is a two-story priest's house. There are also the monastery, hospital, nursery, orphanage and school in the courtyard of the Catholic Church. These buildings show the widespread and far-reaching influence of the Catholic Church on Weizhou Island.