Category Archives: design by Bernard Lauwyck

The history of two chapels in CALIBISHIE

by Bernard Lauwyck

Calibishie chapel hall 2007 July 4th 1972 was a festive day in Calibishie, as their brand new church hall or multipurpose building was official opened by Bishop Arnold Boghaert.  A large crowd gathered, “including truckloads of visitors from as far as Soufriere and Giraudel”, according to the Dominica Chronicle.

Calibishie chapel Hall 2006

The chapel in CALIBISHIE before hurricane Dean in August 2007

The building was adored with a mural done by Lennox Honychurch, based on a design of Gilda Thibaud Nassief, with the theme “casting the net” which was an appropriate image for a chapel dedicated to St. Peter.

Calibshie chapel mural 2007 casting net

“casting the net” mural in the Calibishie chapel before 2007

Frs. Henri Brennan FMI, parish priest and  Jean- Baptiste Villeneuve FMI, the builder, concelebrated with the Bishop.

This building sustained damage with each passage of a hurricane , in 1979, in 1980 and in 1995. Even as repairs were done after the damage the building kept deteriorating: the steel structure, exposed to a lot of seablast lost its structural integrity; concrete foundations were cracking; the roof developed more and more leaks; a branch of a breadfruit tree fell onto the roof; the chapel flooded several times. calibishie chapel without roof Nov 2007

As a result Bishop Gabriel Malzaire, in consultation with the parish priest at the time, Fr. Celsus Auguiste, decided that a new chapel building was needed.

Fundraising for this new chapel was in full swing when Hurricane Dean hit on the morning of August 17, 2007 and lifted & rolled up the roofing. The parishioners had no choice but to look for an alternative place to worship: first at the government school building and later, when that building was also declared unsafe for the public, a local restaurant.

On August 24, 2010  I presented my design for the new chapel  to Fr. Celsus Auguiste and his Calibishie Chapel Reconstruction Committee and it was accepted.

Calibsihie chapel new design approved August 24 2010

Rev. Fr. Celsus is very happy with the new design

Calibishie design for new chapel in Calibishie Aug 2010On September 26, 2010  Bishop Gabriel Malzaire performed a ground bearing ceremony with a large crowd in attendance. I had the opportunity to explain the design and its liturgical symbolism. Sadly Fr. Celsus could not attend this important event as his mother died a few hours earlier. Sept 2010 208Sept 2010 213

The technical drawings were approved by the Physical Planning Division on November 17, 2010.

Requests for tenders went out, but as the available funds were insufficient, only a section of the building could be started. The construction of the foundations and the erection of the galvanised steel frame were started in August, 2012. Once that was done, the works could only continue as funds were limited: the concrete floor was cast with volunteers between January 11-12, 2013; the concrete blocks were installed with self help in April 2013.


Status January 2013 : concrete floor cast with coud de main by parishioners

It was slow going but the catholic community, under the leadership of Fr. Conan Shillingford and a hardworking building committee, was determined to finish their chapel.

Holy Mass in unfinished chapel in CALIBISHIE

Rev Fr. Conan Shillingford conducts Holy Mass in unfinished Calibsihie chapel

Finally all their efforts were rewarded when they moved into an unfinished chapel, still under construction, late 2013. The building at that time had no windows nor doors.

The Divine Mercy and patron Saints images and angel murals were installed in 2014. P1120806

Artist Caesar CATIN at Calibishie chapel Sept 2014

Artist Caesar CATIN at Calibishie chapel Sept 2014

The works and fundraising continued and finally, the chapel was ready for the official blessing on July 2, 2017.  Bishop Gabriel Malzaire in the presence of Fr. C. Sebastian Robert MSFS, parish administrator Deacon Alvin Knight and a large gathering solemnly dedicated the new chapel to Sts. Peter and Paul.

Sadly Fr. Conan could not attend this moment he had work so hard for, as he was on sick leave.


Procession to the new chapel July 2, 2017      (photo courtesy Deacon Alvin Knight)

What remains to be done is the construction of a tall bell tower, with toilet facilities and a vestry under neath.

see other articles on this chapel in this blog (below). P1230791

DEDICATION of the new chapel at Calibishie, July 2, 2017

by Bernard Lauwyck


reworked Calibishie Dedication SAM_4158 (2)The chapel in Calibishie was dedicated and solemnly blessed on July 2, 2017  by Bishop Gabriel Malzaire .                                     Its patrons are Sts Peter and Paul.

reworked Calibishie sanctuary SAM_4054 (2)


This new place of worship replaces the previous building which was severely damaged by Hurricane Dean in 2007.

The sanctuary furniture was donated by the Joseph family from Calibishie through the initiative of Mr. Simeon Joseph. Countless people and several organisations made contributions to the construction of this chapel.

This was a community project which was started by Fr. Celsus Auguiste, built when Fr. Conan Shillingford was parish priest and  blessed during the administration of Deacan Alvin Knight.

I personally spent countless hours at Calibishie , day and nighttime, to move this project forward.

The Main contractor was Ronald Bedneau.

A lot of work was done by local free labour, coud-de-main.  We need to commend the parishioners of Our Lady of La Soie and especially the ones at Calibishie for their untiring efforts and devotion.


P1230785 calibsihie


Calibishie chapel Sept 2015

Coloured windows include representations of the patron saints Sts Paul and Peter and THE DIVINE MERCY of Christ.

click on  Calibishie chapel link on the right side (churches under construction) to find out more about the design and construction of this chapel.

June 2017 update on the new Portsmouth church


June 2017  : windows and doors completed


façade facing West with window depicting the DESCENDING DOVE, the two patron saints and the beautifully carved entrance doors in local mahogany timber ( donated by Jacqueline Douglas).PTH door designed bybeautiful stained glass windows PTH church


The St. Martin de Porres church in CANEFIELD

The Canefield design watercolour1

The Canefield Church


interior design of Canefield church

Bishop Edward Gilbert consecrated the altar at Canefield

Bishop Edward Gilbert consecrated the altar at Canefield

Canefield church blessing

The dedication and blessing ceremony of the Canefield church

The dedication and blessing ceremony of the Canefield church

I have not been able to write up the history on the Canefield church, but I will certainly do this.

Dominica contains all types of churches from Romanesque to Neo-Gothic to modern styles.

Canefield church interior

THE CHURCH, dedicated to St. Theresa of Lisieux, in SALISBURY

Stained Glass above the Main Altar in the sanctuary

St. Therese SGW

This church was solemnly blessed and dedicated to St.Theresa of Lisieux in 1929.

IMG_1417It is a beautiful building, constructed in local quarried porous red-colored stone with a timber roof structure, covered with corrugated galvanized steel sheets.
In the words of the late Bishop James Moris in his history of the Diocese of Roseau : “The church was constructed with splendid materials, graceful proportions and exquisite beauty”      The building is one of the few cross-shaped (cruciform) churches in the Diocese of Roseau.

The original windows of the 1930’s church had to be replaced by Monsignor Eustace Thomas with durable aluminium windows in 1990.   Monsignor also set the new roofing project in motion. Fundraising continued under Rev. Fr. Elveau and the new roof was installed under Fr. Paul in 2006.   The Parish installed ceramic tiles shortly after the roof was completed. At that time, there was no resident priest.

When the newly ordained priest Fr. Nigel Karam was appointed Parish Priest of St. Theresa, he identified a ceiling as the most pressing need.  It was impossible to have ceremonies in the church, during heavy rains as the sound of the raindrops on the galvanised roof was deafening.

Fr. Nigel Karam  brought me a photograph of the type of ceiling he wanted and my team started the design.

large flower motif carved out of CEDAR wood

large flower motif carved out of CEDAR wood

A main feature was the flower motif,

as St. Theresa is referred as “the little flower”.


After funding and materials were secured , the first part of the ceiling was completed in 2010,  as you can see below.

The nave was completed in June 2012.

I want to express my gratitude to Fr. Nigel Karam to allow us to design, built and install a beautiful ceiling in this most beautiful church in Dominica

March 2010 110

design by Bernard and Gale LAUWYCK, workmanship by Anthony JOSEPH and Ronald JOSEPH
design by Bernard and Gale LAUWYCK, workmanship by Anthony JOSEPH and Ronald JOSEPH
completed ceiling

completed ceiling

NEW TABERNACLE in Our Lady of Fatima church in Newtown

The next time you visit Fatima church, please have a look at the new tabernacle in the Sanctuary.

beautiful Sanctuary in Our Lady of Fatima church

beautiful Sanctuary in Our Lady of Fatima church

design by Bernard and Gale LAUWYCK, made by Anthony and Ronald JOSEPH

design by Bernard and Gale LAUWYCK, made by Anthony and Ronald JOSEPH

The present renovation of the church is an initiative of Parish Priest Fr. Clement Vadakkedath, C.Ss.R.

Renovation by Fr. Clement Vadakkedath C.Ss.R.

Renovation by Fr. Clement Vadakkedath C.Ss.R.

WHAT IS NOT KNOWN IS THAT ALWIN BULLY designed this church for Fr. Stryckers, who built it, but never quite finished it. At that time Alwin was a young chap but Fr. Stryckers C.Ss.R. must have recognised his talent. THIS IS INDEED A MOST BEAUTIFUL CHURCH, dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima.Fatima church

I also wish to recognize the ceiling works and Stained glass windows which we installed by Very Rev. Fr. Mark OWEN in 1990.  The stained glass windows in the sanctuary were obtained and installed by Rev. Fr. Charles VERMEULEN C.Ss.R.


Many people are not aware that there is a beautiful catholic chapel in Pichelin, as it is located from the road. Pichelin chapel The idea for the chapel was proposed by Monsignor William John Lewis.  I had the honour to design it and carefully choose the materials for the building. The late Elliot Rolle (+2010) was the contractor. It was completed in 1991 and blessed on December 1, 1991 by the late Bishop Arnold Boghaert (+1993), while the late Fr. Jerome Moody(+2006)  was parish priest of Grandbay. The chapel feast is the Epihany


design and construction by Bernard Lauwyck

design and construction by Bernard Lauwyck


Sunday Mass at 11 am

After two decades of  fundraising, praying and begging three successive Bishops to provide them with their proper Place of Worship, their prayers were answered when Bishop Gabriel Malzaire granted permission to build a small chapel.  The land was provide by Mr. and Mrs. Alan BRUNEY. 

Adveniat and pontifical Mission Societies provided financial assistance. Many parishioners and wellwishers gave what talent and resources they could.

The Chapel was dedicated and bless by Bishop Gabriel Malzaire on June 6, 2010.

Consecration of the Altar

Consecration of the Altar

I said a few words, as you can find below, to explain what a Catholic place of Worship is all about :

In Exodus chapter 25 we read And God said to Moses 

Build Me a sanctuary, so that I may dwell among my people”

You shall make a table of acacia wood”

…”And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me “

This, the members of the Catholic Community of COCKRANE set out to do more than 2 decades ago with a faith and determination that I have not encounter anywhere else in my 30 years in Dominica, and today you see the result of their efforts and their many prayers.

I can still remember the astonished look on fr. John Bergmans face when Mr. Bruney brought the Title Deed of this piece of land to the Bishop’s House with the words :

this is the land for the new chapel in Cockrane“.

Mr. Alan BRUNEY at the blessing of the chapel June 2010

Mr. Alan BRUNEY at the blessing of the chapel June 2010

Of course this community did get some generous help from the St. Alphonsus Parish, many individual benefactors and the wider catholic world community.

What is so Catholic about these furnishings , what items do we need in a Catholic chapel ?

and I want to stress on this because we are sometimes unsure about our own Catholic heritage and identity.

We are all too familiar with

Mathew 18;20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”


GOD only can make a place sacred !!

A Catholic church or chapel is more than a simple gathering space for worshippers, it is actually


So even when the building is empty of people, once the Blessed Sacrament is present, the Real Presence is here.

As Catholics we believe that

Christ is present in this chapel in several ways :

the Church teaches us that

  • Christ is present in the Word preached from the AMBO, THE PLACE OF THE WORD OF GOD
  • CHRIST IS PRESENT in the assembly of the faithful,
  • CHRIST is present in the waters of Baptism, here represented in the Holy Water font at the entrance.
  • CHRIST is present in the Tabernacle and we can see the whole chapel building as one large TABERNACLE.


In addition we notice the large   CRUCIFIX behind the ALTAR. NOT an empty cross !!! with the corpus of a suffering dying Jesus. 

The Passion of the Lord is also depicted in the traditional 14 Stations of the Cross.

The patron feast of this chapel THE PRESENTATION OF JESUS IN THE TEMPLE, is a feast of both from the Life of Jesus and of his Mother Mary.

And of course no catholic church or chapel should be without an image of the VIRGIN MARY, the mother of God.

Build Me a sanctuary, so that I may dwell among my people”

“You shall make a table of acacia wood”

…”And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me “

Acacia was chosen for its durability which is similar to own Red Cedar. The altar you see here was built with Red Cedar.

Psalm 78:19 asks us ” CAN GOD SPREAD A TABLE IN THE DESERT?” the desert of disbelief, unbelief, negativity, sceptism, darkness.      Today this altar has been consecrated by our Bishop Gabriel which include sprinkling with Holy Water, oiling with Chrism OIL, the placing of the white altar cloth and the installation of candles . Holy water, oil, fire and light (as Christ is the LIGHT who came in the darkness and this celebrated in CANDLEMAS on Feb 2, which will be your parish feast).

” CAN GOD SPREAD A TABLE IN THE DESERT?” the spiritual desert we live in today. YES HE CAN !!!

God has pitched his tent in Cockrane TODAY.

and we are all part of this event .

In closing I wanted to provide a few word on BEAUTY and SYMBOLISM in this new place of worship.

Vatican II teaches us that”  ” Buildings … for divine worship ought to be beautiful and symbolic

The fact is that our environment does influence us and architecture is a powerful force on us.

It is of course possible to worship God under a tree, in a hall, stadium or gymnasium, because if people truly seek God, God will meet them there.                                But as Catholics we build special spaces crafted specially for a human-divine encounter with God”


1.this chapel is located , on the mountain.            The old and new testament are full of people who “went up the mountain to meet God” Moses, Isaiah even Jesus went up the mountain to pray to his Father.

2. The shape of this chapel :                     This is a cruciform chapel, in the shape of the cross As I mentioned at the ground breaking ceremony: The shape of the cross firmly embedded tin these foundations in the soil of Cockrane.

3. the ceiling:   The ceiling over the nave in this chapel looks like an upside down ship. The word nave comes from Latin navis, meaning ship, the root of the English word “navigation”, “navy”.   The association of the Church with a ship (or ark) is well known and this chapel will contain the congregation and celebrant traveling together towards God.

BEAUTYjune 2010 042

Beauty is a word we seldom hear these days. Our buzz words are usefulness, functionality, efficiency, productivity, cost benefit.     In a document published in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI named “Sacramentum Caritatis “, there is a chapter on Beauty and the liturgy wherein he mentions the word BEAUTY more than 25 times :and I quote ” Like the rest of Christian Revelation, liturgy is linked to beauty.             The liturgy is a radiant expression of the paschal mystery, in which Christ draws us to himself and calls us to communion. …, in Jesus we contemplate beauty and splendour at their source.

The truest beauty is the love of God, who definitively revealed himself to us in the paschal mystery.  Beauty is a powerful means to draw us closer to the Mystery of God.

The beauty of the liturgy is part of this mystery; it is a sublime expression of God’s glory and, in a certain sense, a glimpse of heaven on earth

Beauty, then, is not mere decoration, but rather an essential element of the liturgical action, since it is an attribute of God himself and his revelation.


I hope that this new chapel invites each of you to enter in the Presence of the LORD,

to pray,

to worship and

to celebrate the glory of God.

I hope that these walls and each small crevice in them will soon be filled with your prayers .

May these walls soon shout LOUD. loud of the Faith of God’s people of Cockrane.

Thank you.

Station of the Cross in Cockrane

Station of the Cross in Cockrane

Bernard Lauwyck

Diocesan Engineer of the Diocese of Roseau in DOMINICA

June 2010