Our Building

A Short History of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church Building, Organs and Bells



In 1895 Bishop Caspar Bottemanne, of Haarlem, founded the parish of ‘Our Lady of Good Counsel’, ‘Onze Lieve Vrouw van Goede Raad’. The first parish priest was Fr. William Lord Wittert van Hoogland. In 1896 the stone was laid and in 1898, the-gothic parish church, built by architect Nicolaas Molenaar,  was consecrated, just months after he finished the magnificent Roman Catholic  church in Elandstraat, The Hague. In 1904 the church acquired an organ. The Monstrance was made, in 1910,  by the goldsmith Gerard Bartel from Utrecht​



 

THE BOMBING OF THE CHURCH 1945


​​​The bombing of the Bezuidenhout neighbourhood took place on 3rd March 1945, when the RAF accidentally bombed it instead of the nearby woods where German launching facilities had been used to attack UK cities. Sadly, the pilots were issued with the wrong coordinates and got confused by fog and clouds. The bombing caused many casualties and 20,000 people were left homeless. They had to be quartered in the Eastern and Central Netherlands. The first parish church too was completely destroyed. At the end of the Marialaan parallel to the church you will find the monument of ‘Juliana of Stolberg and her five sons’, which survived the bombing and now also serves as a memorial for the bombing victims at a service, which takes place every year on 3rd March. (Juliana’s oldest son was William the Silent, Prince of Orange 1533- 1584, ancestor of the present Dutch Royal House Monarchy).

 
THE BUILDING OF THE NEW CHURCH

​In 1955 the new church and main altar, built by Leiden architect Jan van der Laan, were consecrated by Bishop John Huibers of Haarlem. The Parish Priest then was Fr. Wim van Alphen.
The church has elements that reflect early Christian and Roman and is built in the shape of an early Christian square basilica.
Arie Theewisse from Amsterdam was the sculptor who made the statues of Saint Joseph and Mary, and the Baptismal font including the small  statue of Saint John the Baptist on top of it.
The Stations of the Cross and the Cross above the main altar, which is now turned towards the organ,  were painted by self-taught painter Lambert Simon.
Above the main entrance there is a Crucifix from the artist J. Lücking who also made the Sacred Heart statue which stands near the choir area.
The church was given the status of a Monument of The Hague on 11th November 2004.
 
​In 2007, after 112 years, a new parish was formed from three of the Dutch parishes and named  ‘Three Kings’ by the Bishop of Rotterdam Adrian van Luyn. The Benoordenhout parish church of Saint Paschal Baylon is their new parish church.  Our Lady of Good Counsel church building was handed over to The English Speaking International Roman Catholic Parish of The Church of Our Saviour.

This large international parish has made many changes to the church buildings. In the church, the Altar has been moved forward, closer to the congregation, the arrangement of the pews has been changed as has the lighting system.

The icons of the four Evangelists above the side doors and the main Cross with Christ ‘The Pantocrator’, a  Greek term, meaning ‘Saviour of all,’ were painted by Sally Williams between 2012-2014. The large Christ figure emphasises the Patron of the Church of Our Saviour.
 
In recent years under the guidance of the Parish Priest, Fr. Sjaak de Boer mhm, the Pastoral Centre has been completely renovated. A roof was placed over the central courtyard, offices were made, an apartment was built and all the rooms were fitted out to accommodate group meetings and Religious Education classes for a group of around 200 children.  A new Day Chapel was created. The parish established a  Build With Us Group of volunteers to raise funds towards the cost of alterations to the Church and the New Pastoral Centre. The group is still raising funds by planning and organising events such as the Annual Parish Dinner Dance, International Cuisine Evenings, BBQs, Musical Evenings, Quiz and Bingo Nights, Kids’ Discos, Auctions, Car Boot Sales and Raffles with the participation and support of members of the Parish.

After a period of extensive renovation the new Pastoral Centre was officially opened  on  Saturday 29th October 2011 by Former NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.
The  Pastoral Centre is used by many different parish and non-parish groups and the Atrium,  bar area and rooms can be rented for various functions. 


THE ORGANS AND CHURCH BELLS



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​​In 1955 On the feast of Christ the King three bronze church bells were blessed and installed in the Campanile church tower. Their names are: Holy Mary (1203 kilo), Joseph (841 kilo) and Willibrord (585 kilo). The inscription on Willibrord  is “the sheep hear my voice; I call my sheep by name, and lead them out” (John 10 : 3).