Macau has a long and rich Catholic tradition, and Catholic worshippers currently number around 30,000 (about 5% of the population). This heritage is reflected in the number of Churches spread across the peninsula and down into Taipa and Coloane.
Macau is divided into a number of Parishes, each with their main Parish church. Alongside that are number of smaller churches and chapels dotted around.
This list outlines the main ones you may want to consider visiting if you are planning a trip to Macau (even if you are not religious, they each have a part to play in Macau’s history and are interesting in their own right).
- Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady
The Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady (Igreja da Sé, 澳門主教座堂) is the current cathedral of the Diocese of Macau.
- Chapel of St Francis Xavier
The Chapel of St Francis Xavier (Capela de São Francisco Xavier, 聖方濟各聖堂) stands in the middle of Coloane Village on the southernmost tip of Macau, near to a monument commemorating a victory over pirates in 1910.
- Chapel of St. Michael
The small chapel of St. Michael (Capela de São Miguel) lies in the Catholic cemetery of the Archangel St. Michael close to Tap Seac Square.
- Church of Our Lady of Carmel
The Church of Our Lady of Carmel (Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, 嘉模聖母堂) stands on a small hill on the edge of old Taipa village, between Carmo Fair and the Taipa Houses museum and the landscaped gardens by the lake.
- Our Lady of Penha Church
Our Lady of Penha Church (Capela de Nossa Senhora da Penha, 西望洋聖堂), which is dedicated to 'Our Lady of Penha of France' , was constructed in 1622 for the Augustinians. For many years it has served as a shrine for mariners about to embark on dangerous voyages.
- Ruins of St. Paul’s
One of the most recognisable landmarks in Macau, the Ruins of St. Paul's (大三巴牌坊) are all that remains of a 16th century complex which included the Church of St Paul (Mater Dei) and St Paul's College. The college was one of the largest in Asia when it was first built, at a time when Macau was the main port in the Pearl River Delta (before being overtaken by Hong Kong).
- St Antony’s Church
The original St. Antony’s Church (Igreja de São Antonio, 聖安多尼堂) was built in 1560, making it one of the oldest churches in Macau. Hailed as ‘the first home of God in Macau’, it was the site of the first Jesuit headquarters in the city.
- St Lawrence Church
St Lawrence's Church (Freguesia de São Lourenço) is possibly the richest and most beautiful church in Macau, both for its decoration and the religious objects within it.
- St. Augustine’s Church
St. Augustine’s Church (Igreja de St. Agostinho, 聖奧斯定堂) sits on the square which takes it’s name, alongside other historic buildings including Dom Pedro V Theatre, St. Joseph’s Seminary and Church and the Sir Robert Ho Tung Library.
- St. Dominic’s Church
St. Dominic’s Church (Igreja de São Domingos, 玫瑰堂) was established in 1587 by 3 Spanish Dominican priests who arrived in Macau from Acapulco, Mexico, this church has been the scene of several violent incidents.
- St. Joseph’s Seminary and Church
St. Joseph’s Seminary and Church (Igreja e Seminário de São José, 聖若瑟修院及聖堂) was originally built by the jesuits around 1758, and recently restored to original splendour.
- St. Lazarus’ Church
St. Lazarus' Church (望德聖母堂) is built on one of the oldest church sites in Macau, and is the main church of St. Lazarus Parish.