THE RE-DEDICATION and history of the chapel in DUBLANC

On Monday June 29, 2015, Bishop Gabriel Malzaire, Bishop of Roseau re-dedicated this chapel.

The renovated chapel June 2015

The renovated chapel June 2015

We know from the diocesan records that in 1779, the Parish of St. Peter had a resident parish priest named Rev. Fr. Gatin.   At that time and for a long time after,  Colihaut and Dublanc were distinct enclaves, far from Portsmouth and Roseau and only reachable by boat.

Even in the early 20th century visiting Colihaut and Dublanc had its challenges. Bishop Philip Schelfhaut C.Ss.R., who was Bishop of Roseau from January 1902 till  his  death on May 22, 1921,  visited the parish during his pastoral visit in  January 1920 and travelled   “in a piroque manned by three oarsmen and a pilot. The sea at certain corners was rough; yet they covered the distance from Portsmouth  in about 1 ½ hours”.    

The diocesan records states that Rev. Fr. Paddington,who was  parish priest of Colihaut,  resided mostly at Dublanc, which was described as “a pretty large hamlet some two or three miles to the north of the Colihaut”  His stay, however, was of short duration as he became incapacitated by illness.  He died in 1849 before he was able to receive medical assistance.

In 1874 a humble chapel was put up at Dublanc by Rev. Fr.  Camil  Marchel , who died on 12 November 1876  in Colihaut.  This chapel was blown down, a few years after his death, presumably in the terrible hurricane of 1883.

A new chapel was built on the same spot.     Rev. Fr.  Jules Francois Michel (+1901) erected a temporary chapel in 1885, where he used “to offer Holy Mass and to give Holy Communion to the old and infirm people who were unable to go to Colihaut.”   The chapel did not stand the test of time and it soon disappeared under the relentless assault of the elements.

In 1916  Rev. Fr.  Francois Charrieau  FMI raised the chapel in Dublanc from its ruins.  However just before completion, a hurricane  leveled on 28th August 1916 all that was erected to the ground.

In 1925 a larger and stronger structure was built and this chapel withstood the hurricanes of 1928 and 1930 and 1934. By that time the Colihaut Parish was no longer the prosperous and populous district of the past as  the destructive hurricanes of 1916 and 1934 destroyed all the coffee plantations.

In 1978 a new chapel was built by Rev. Fr. Jean Guérry FMI. The architect was a local man Cuthbert Joseph. The chapel was built with a lot of coud de main or selfhelp.  Bishop Arnold Boghaert blessed this chapel on July 4, 1976 and dedicated it to the Miraculous Infant Jesus of  Praque.

This chapel survived Hurricanes  David (1979),  Frederick (1979)  and Allen (1980) without any damage. It served a growing vibrant congregation well for many many years.

Rev. Fr. Celsus Auguiste enlarged the seating area as attendance was growing under his dynamic leadership. He also did some improvements and beautifications in  1988.

The recent renovation works  were needed as the elements, not to mention the terrible sea blast of hurricane Lenny, took their toll on the 35 years old building.

Dublanc chapel 1978 to 2013

Dublanc chapel 1978 to 2013

The renovation project was initiated by Rev. Fr. Godfrey Tarimo in January 2010  when he applied for funding to ADVENIAT in Germany and PROPAGATION OF THE FAITH in Rome.  By that time, the community had raised a substantial amount of money towards this project.

The project was pursued by Rev. Fr. Nigel Karam, pastoral administrator of the Colihaut Parish in 2012.  The design for a new roof and curved ceiling and the eastern orientation of the chapel, designed by Bernard Lauwyck, the Diocesan Engineer  was approved by the chapel building committee and Fr. Karam in March 2012.

new ceiling designed by Bernard Lauwyck

new ceiling designed by Bernard Lauwyck

The parish of St. Peter was without parish priest from July 2012 till the end of 2013.   Monsignor William John Lewis, who was helping out, supported the project wholeheartedly.

The Dublanc chapel community continued to raise funds and worked with the Diocesan Engineer to get the renovation works started. After Carnival 2013, the community moved  for worship into a temporary building called “the house”, which was however leaking terrible and difficult to access when it rained.  In March 2013, the chapel community came together to remove the old roof and ceiling. This was done on a voluntary basis and saved a considerable amount of money.

The renovation works were started in May 2013 by contractor Hughbert Joseph. who completed the roof and supporting structure by October 2013. P1080147

It was during the period that Rev. Fr. Glanville Joseph was priest in charge of the parish that the PVC windows and doors were installed. This was  before Christmas 2013.  In the beginning of 2014, contractor Brian Charles constructed the curved ceiling and completed the eaves.

By that time the Bishop obtained a donation of ceramic tiles from Food for the Poor.

interior of the newly renovated chapel June 2015

interior of the newly renovated chapel June 2015

All this work was substantially completed by April 2014, and the community moved back in the renovated chapel under the direction of  Fr. Johnmark Ogu,  the new Parish priest on Palm Sunday 2014.  Electrical work still had to be completed , which was done by by Vesta Anselm. To complete the chapel, Clemon Francois constructed the entrance portico. Proesmans manuscript 381

Many many parishioners gave valuable self help or coud de main to this project and need to be commended for this.

On Monday June 29, 2015, Bishop Gabriel Malzaire, Bishop of Roseau re-dedicated this chapel.

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