Category Archives: NEW CHAPELS or CHURCHES

destruction by hurricane MARIA on September 18, 2017

Hurricane Maria, a superior category 5 hurricane, devastated Dominica on September 18, 2017.

The following churches and chapels were severely affected :

  • St. Patrick’s church at Grandbay
  • Holy Trinity chapel at Bagatelle
  • Epiphany chapel at Pichelin
  • Holy Spirit chapel at loubiere
  • Sacred heart church at La Roche
  • Good Shepherd chapel in CONCORD
  • Our Lady of Martyrs chapel at Mahaut River
  • Martyrs of Uganda chapel at Upper Penville

I am creating a link named ” destroyed by hurricane MARIA 2017″

Destroyed Grandbay church Oct 2017

d cracked bell tower at Grandbay Jan 2018


destroyed Grand bay church

destroyed chapel at Bagatelle

Bagatelle chapel post hurricane Maria

destroyed pichelin chapel



destruction of Sacred Heart chapel in LA Roche, by hurricane MARIA on September 18, 2017






CONCORD chapel destroyed September 2017






destroyed Loubiere Chapel September 2017

The chapel at MAHAUT RIVER below

P1240715 MAHAUT RIVER damage MARIA 2017


Upper Penville chapel


constructed by Bernard Lauwyck and Fr. Jean Guéry FMI

constructed by Fr. Jean Guéry FMI and Roy Tyson



It is difficult to present an interior  picture of the MAHAUT RIVER chapel, dedicated to Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs, AS IT HAS THE SHAPE OF AN OCTAGON.

Bishop Edward GILBERRT, Fr. Vanty, Fr. Jean Guéry

Bishop Edward GILBERT, Fr. Vanty, Fr. Jean Guéry

The chapel was Solemnly Blessed by His Lordship Bishop Edward Gilbert on February 19, 1995. OUR LADY OF MARTYRS CHAPEL AT MAHAUT RIVER 1995


One mural has the “Our Father”  in the Kalinago language.

I urge you to pay a visit and admire the beautiful murals created by local artist Faustulus .

mural at Mahaut River chapel

mural at Mahaut River chapel

The St. Martin de Porres church in CANEFIELD

The Canefield design watercolour1

St Martin de Porres chapel in Canefield anno 2021The 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


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


This is my proposal for the windows at the entrance of the Portsmouth church.


design by Bernard Lauwyck – Diocesan Engineer

This is my proposal for the colored stained glass in the Sanctuary of the new R.C. church in Portsmouth.

proposal by Bernard Lauwyck – Diocesan Engineer

SGW proposal for PTH church


Bourne chapel design 2009

May 1, 2011

The building of this new chapel was a LABOUR OF LOVE.

  •  A Labour of love for Fr. Sharplis , who came up with the idea to have this chapel     dedicated   to OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE.
  •  A labour of love for the many hands who worked on this chapel, under the supervision of Mr. Patrick Jno Baptiste and Mr. Jefferson JAMES, and the many people who donated and contributed. The people who settle the ownership of the land.
  •  A labour of love for me, the designer of the chapel and I was also very much involved in the beautiful curved ceiling, arched windows & doors and stained glass window.

Today, our Bishop has DEDICATED this chapel to Our Lady of Guadalupe and CONSECRATED the altar, a table set aside for the celebration of the Eucharist.

Bourne dedication 3

As the designer of the Sacred Space, I wanted to take this opportunity to explain some elements of the design of this chapel :

  1. First of all, as all great Cathedrals, this little chapel is facing EAST, you are sitting, praying and celebrating facing East.       In Ezekiel 43 we read :  ”The glory of God comes from the east” The rising of the sun in the East each day has been seen, since early apostolic times, as a symbol of the Resurrection of the Saviour and of His Second Coming. This chapel is facing East.
  2. Secondly, ” church buildings, to be used for divine worship, ought to be beautiful and symbolic”       Beauty is a powerful means to draw us closer to the Mystery of God.
    • beauty will make the Truth of Christ in the liturgy more attractive,
    • it will bring and draw people inside,
    • It will invite us to engage and participate actively in the liturgy,
    • It will cause us to be transformed so that we in turn can transform the world.

We constructed this beautiful chapel to glorify God  so that God can sanctify us and make us grow towards salvation.

3.    Symbolism : The ceiling with the shape of a tent.   We all know the words from JOHN 1:14   “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

A literal translation of this passage is  “In Jesus, God has pitched his tent among us.”(John 1:14).             Pitched his tent among us !!                                                                                                     This links the new testament to the old testament where the LORD said to Moses: ” make me a sanctuary, and I will dwell among my people. You must make the tabernacle and all its furnishings following the plan that I am showing you.” (Exodus 25:8-10).                                       This tabernacle was a tent-like sanctuary that the wandering nomadic Hebrews carried with them.    The English word “tabernacle” is derived from Latin “tabernaculum” which means TENT.  dec 2010 037

This new chapel with a tent shaped ceiling will be God’s tent, God’s tabernacle, here in BOURNE.

After Moses built this tent, this sanctuary, we read  The glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle” Exodus 40 : 34.

But sometime we forget about  the human tabernacle who was filled with the GLORY OF GOD : The humble servant MARY.  She is depicted her as she appeared in Guadalupe, Mexico.

This brings us to OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE, this chapel’s patron .
The idea to dedicated this chapel to the memory of the Virgin of Guadalupe was proposed by Fr. Sharplis and accepted by our Bishop Gabriel Malzaire.

Above the altar you see the beautiful stained glass window, a copy of the TILMA or cloak that is displayed in the shrine of the Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

The miraculous image produced on the cloak of Blessed Juan Diego is rich in symbolism.

We note in the Book of Revelation 12
“ A great sign appeared in the sky,  a woman who was adorned with the sun,
with the moon under her feet  and on her head a crown of 12 stars”

These 12 stars are shining on your chapel fascia boards facing East  as a crown of Our Blessed Lady;

Her mantle is also studded with many stars : The Eight pointed star.

The 8 pointed star is a symbol of REDEMPTION and REGENERATION;
You might remember that only 8 people were saved from the waters of the Flood on board of the ark van Noah. Many baptismal fonts have a 8 sided shape or octagon.

The number 8 refers to the eighth day, the day after the Jewish sabbath day or the seventh day in their Jewish week. The day Jesus Christ was resurrected

The Red Roses on the fascia board facing West.
Upon request of evidence of the apparition by the Bishop of the Diocese, Our Lady of Guadalupe provide this miracle : when Juan Diego opened his coat or Tilma , red roses fell on the ground and the image of OUR LADY of GUADALUPE revealed itself on the Tilma.

Usually the patron of a chapel of church should be placed at the entrance, but here we have Jesus mother looking down on the altar, the table of her Son’s sacrifice, repeated at every Eucharistic celebration in this chapel.

I want to close with the words of OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE to Juan Diego which are very relevant to us, here in BOURNE, in these troubled times :

Her words were :
“I love you.
I am the ever-virgin Mary, Mother of the true God who gives life and maintains its existence.
He created all things. He is in all places. He is Lord of Heaven and Earth.
I desire a church in this place where your people may experience my compassion.
• All those who sincerely ask my help in their work and in their sorrows will know my Mother’s Heart in this place.
• Here I will see their tears;
• Here I will console them
• and they will be at peace.

To God be the Glory !!

So you can see that this is a building full of symbolism and meaning.  I hope you will take care of it and put it to proper use.

Bernard Lauwyck, Diocesan Engineer, May 2011


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.