Category Archives: modern church in Dominica

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.

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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.

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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

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

by Bernard Lauwyck

NEW STS PETER and PAUL CHAPEL at CALIBISHIE Sept 2017

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)

THE SANCTUARY OF THE NEW CHAPEL AT CALIBISHIE July 2017

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

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June 2017  : windows and doors completed

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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

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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 modern ST ALPHONSUS CHURCH in GOODWILL

designed by architect Jeffrey Macclean

designed by architect Geoffrey Maclean

In this second article  on the history of the St. Alphonsus’ church,  I am heavily indebted to and grateful for the work  of  Mr. Kenneth A. Richards.  His publication “AMIDST THE SUGAR CANES”  published in 1991 is a wonderful source of history.

On August 29, 1979  Hurricane David  caused severe damage to the first St. Alphonsus’ church, which was started in December 1929 and dedicated and blessed by Bishop James Moris on October 5, 1930.    The roof was torn off, windows blown out .  Many arches, columns and walls  were severely  cracked and damaged beyond repair. The congregation moved to the downstairs of the St. Alphonsus Parish Hall for worship.

The damaged old church was demolished in 1985 and it took till May 20, 1987 before  the groundbreaking ceremony for the new church was performed by Fr. Francis Huysmans, Vicar General.

The new church was designed by a Trinidadian  architect Geoffrey Maclean   and  the engineers  were the local firm Consulting Engineering Partnership.  A scale model was prepared and put on display.  An intensive fundraising drive  was started.

The local firm L. Luke and Sons Construction  was contracted to construct the church in phases.  Shortly after the commencement of the works, Fr. Eustace Thomas left  to continue his studies and  Fr. Paul Loncke C.Ss. R.  was appointed  parish priest.   The task of building a new church fell then on his shoulders.  In this task he was ably assisted  by the Reconstruction Committee comprising of Mr. Sheridon Jno Baptiste,  Dr. Desmond McIntyre,  Mr. Jerome Robinson,  Mrs. Adwina Magloire and  Ms Molly Fontaine., Mrs. Zena Boyd and Mrs. Rona Fingal.

During the years that Fr Charles Martin was parish priest  vegetable soil from the Holy Redeemer Retreat Center in Eggleston was sourced and the area around the church was  landscaped, fenced  and planted under the supervision of the Landscaping Committee, comprising of Mr. Jerome Robinson, Mr. Milton green, Mrs Adwina Magloire, Mrs. Zena Boyd and Mrs. Rona Fingal.  During that time, the interior  church was also painted  by the late calypsonian Roland James “Spider”  under the direction of  Mrs. A. Magloire.   Due to the height of the church, this was quite a dangerous and complicated job.

All the prayers, patience , work and fund raising finally paid off when  on the second of August 1999 the new  church was solemnly   Blessed and Dedicated  to St. Alphonsus  by Bishop Edward Gilbert,  eighth  Bishop of  Roseau . Fr. Reginald La Fleur was the Parish priest at the time.

When Father, later to be Monsignor,  Reginald LaFleur became Parish Priest , he proceeded with the building of  beautiful stone walls and metal fencing around the church.

In all the work he did, he was ably assisted by the Fundraising Committee :  members :  Mrs. Jossie Stevenson, , Mr. Milton Green, Ms. Debra Grell, Ms. Stella Giddens, Mrs. Veronica Younis, Ms. Sherita Gregoire, Mrs. Carol   Abraham, Ms. Cloudette Casimir, Mrs. Joycie Alfred, Mrs. Evelyn Guye and Ms. Molly Fontaine.

When Monsignor Eustace Thomas returned to the parish, as Parish Priest,  in 2008, he was keen to enhance the liturgical space  and the surroundings of the church.   In August 2010   a new stained glass window was installed with the  crucified Christ as theme.  Sometime later , two new stained glass windows, with the Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin  as themes, were added.

Recently the steps and the patio in from of the church were tiled and an entrance gate installed. Painting works of the church are ongoing presently.

The next step will be the  upgrading and development of the church grounds in front of the church . This will enhance the whole church environment.