Category Archives: RENOVATED CHURCHES

Easter Pilgrimage 2018

reworked Calibishie sanctuary SAM_4054 (2)

Sts Peter and Paul chapel at CALIBISHIE

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St. John and St Louis church at PORTSMOUTH

beautiful stained glass windows PTH church

Massacre church

St Ann church at MASSACRE

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Church at Pointe Michel before Hurricane DAVID

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Our Lady of La Salette church In POINTE MICHEL

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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

 

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

 

 

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SACRED HEART CHAPEL in LA ROCHE

 

CONCORD chapel destroyed September 2017

 

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LOUBIERE CHAPEL

 

destroyed Loubiere Chapel September 2017

The chapel at MAHAUT RIVER below

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Upper Penville chapel

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The church of Our Lady of Health in CASTLE BRUCE – its history

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Fr. Vrignaud was  the builder of Castle Bruce church  in 1953

Fr. Vrignaud is the builder of Castle Bruce church anno 1953

In 1863 Bishop Rene Poirier , third Bishop of Roseau (1859-1878) made a pastoral visit along the windward coast of the island.  He described the chapel at Castle Bruce  as  “a hovel of a chapel covered with straw.

In February 1872 the Sons of Mary Immaculate, or Fathers of Chavagnes, arrived in Dominica.  Bishop Poirier  undertook, at the age of 72, the long and tiresome ride to the windward side of the island in order to install the french Fathers in their respective parishes.  Having first visited La Plaine and La Roche, he rode as far north as Castle Bruce, where he was received with manifestations of unbounded joy.  He asked the faithful to restore their chapel and build a presbytery if they wished to have regular Holy Mass in their hamlet; until those buildings were erected they would have to go to St. Sauveur for Holy Mass.

In  June 1880,  Bishop Michael Naughten , fourth Bishop of Roseau  (1880-1900), paid his first pastoral visit to the windward district. The church of Rosalie was nearing completion; the  one at St. Sauveur was almost finished.  Castle Bruce was also visited on this occasion.   “As His Lordship does not mention any chapel, in that important hamlet, it is supposed that the chapel which existed there twenty years before had fallen into decay and never been reconstructed” quote from THE ECCLESIASTICAL BULLETIN OF THE DIOCESE OF ROSEAU  (EBR)

Many years passed and nothing seems to have been done : in 1927  regret is expressed that a church has not been built in Castle Bruce and that the parishioners have to cross two, sometime swollen,  rivers to attend Holy Mass at San Sauveur.

Bishop James Moris,  sixth Bishop of Roseau (1922- 1957) , saw the great need for   a church in Castle Bruce and  obtained from  Mrs. Johnson, the owner of the Castle Bruce Estate, 4 acres of  land for this purpose.

In 1940  he mentioned that  the faithful of Castle Bruce, over 700 in number, are gathering native lumber, in order to build a large chapel .

It took however the arrival of  Fr. Pascal Vrignaud  FMI to make this longtime dream come true. On August 12, 1952  Bishop Antoon Demets C.Ss.R. , Coadjutor Bishop of Roseau (1946-1954), blessed the corner stone of the new church at Castle Bruce. It was a grand occasion .

By July 1954 the church was almost completed but some doors & windows and interior fixtures still had to be completed. The church “solid,  all in mason work of 20″ or 18″ thickness and surmounted by a graceful tower was the pride of the people of Castle Bruce.” ( The Dominica Chronicle July 24, 1954)

The stones for the church came from the ruins of the old sugar factory of the  Castle Bruce estate. Fr.  Pascal got permission from the owner to remove and use them  (source : Dr. Lennox Honychurch).

As Fr. Pascal’s health failed him and he left to recuperate in France it became the task of Fr. Hilaire Maupetit FMI to complete the church.

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The Castle Bruce church, without the bell tower, after the damage caused by the earthquake of November 29, 2007

The Castle Bruce church from 1953 till 2007

The Castle Bruce church from 1953 till 2007

The Parish of Our Lady, Health of the sick was canonically erected on February 2, 1954 by Bishop James Moris C.Ss.R, extending from the Pagua River to the Castle Bruce River , including, beyond the Castle Bruce River, the hamlets of Dix Pas and Tranto. This large area was before a part of the Parish of St. Saviour (which was canonically erected on February 8, 1866 by Bishop Poirier C.M.).

By July 1954 the parish church of Our Lady of Health was almost completed. The doors & windows and interior fixtures were installed at a later date by Fr. Hilaire Maupetit FMI, Fr. Pascal’s successor.
The church, surmounted by a graceful tower, became the pride of the people of Castle Bruce.

Fr. Pascal Vrignaud returned to Castle Bruce and was living there in 1978 when Dr. Lennox Honychurch painted the mural behind the altar. Father Pascal sat for his own portrait.

Another important event in the history of this parish church was the extensive damage caused at 3 p.m. on November 29, 2007 by an earthquake. The 2007 Martinique earthquake took place underneath the Martinique Passage and had a magnitude of 7.4 on the Richter Scale.
Damage was located in three areas of this beautiful historical building: the tower, the sanctuary walls including the mural and the pointed arched windows.

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The church was declared unsafe and the community had services in the Government Primary School for several months.
The damage to the church amounted to more than EC $ 200,000.00. As the building was under- insured the pay-out from the insurance was insufficient to do all necessary repairs and reconstruction.
For public safety reasons, the bell tower, cracked from top to bottom, was demolished in February and March 2008 to avoid danger to the public. The bell named PASCALINA MARIA was stored away for future use.
The parishioners moved back into their church on Palm Sunday the 16th of March 2008 although the windows still had to be replaced and repaired. This was done during the months of June- July 2008. The building was also completely rewired and repainted.

Today, almost 10 years after the November 2007 earthquake, the present parish priest Fr. Godfrey Tarimo is constructing a new tower, which will house the old bell.

THE OLD and BEAUTIFUL CHURCH in SOUFRIERE

By Bernard Lauwyck

One of our oldest and most beautiful churches in the Diocese of Roseau is the church in Soufriere. This small church is worth visiting as it is a real treasure.
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Over the last 10 years a huge amount of work was done by several priests to preserve and beautify this church and I am honoured to have been part of every phase of restoration and renovation.

The Parish Church of the St. Mark’s Parish was built by Rev. Fr. Antoine Auguste VERGNE of the FMI congregation (Pères de Chavagnes, France). He became Parish Priest of Soufriere on the 21st of December 1876 and remained at Soufriere till his death, 30 years later, on 31st July 1906. His dedication and tremendous efforts in this parish were recognized in a memorial plaque in the church.

On his arrival in the parish in 1876, he met a dilapidated church building, which in his own words was “unworthy of the God of Tabernacles”. He first extended the sanctuary and constructed a new sacristy behind it. Then the existing Marian chapel , “Chapelle de la Vierge” was enlarged. To make the church cruciform, another side-chapel was erected on the opposite side. All walls of the old church building and the roof were raised to their proper height. But Fr. Vergne did not stop there : a choir loft was added and a magnificent belfry with winding staircases, all in concrete. He finally imported from France, three beautiful marble altars and a baptismal font to match them. The installation of brand new church pews and “artistically “ iron-wrought Communion Railings completed the beautiful church.Soufriere Baptismal font for article

Some of his works, especially the exquisite tabernacle and baptismal font and part of the communion rails can still be admired today.

Sadly the high Altar was broken up in pieces after Vatican II to create the present altar and the tabernacle stand.

The yearly pilgrimage of Our Lady of Lourdes was initiated by Fr. Henry Lorieau on February 11, 1914, with the approval of Bishop Philip Schelfhaut C.Ss.R, fifth Bishop of Roseau (1902–1921). This pilgrimage has met astonishing success every year since, up to this day.

In 1995, hurricane Luis removed part of the roof, which was promply repaired by Fr. Clement Jolly, C.Ss.R.

In 2004 Monsignor William John Lewis, with the assistance of DJ sister Jeannette Pelletier, started the renovation of roof and ceiling of the Soufriere church. These works done by a local team were conducted by foremen Peltier and Etienne. Electrical and painting works followed, the latter done by Diocesan workers.

The next phase in the renovation works was the tiling of the floor with marble tiles, donated by Food For the Poor (USA). I prepared a beautiful lay out with the diverse tiles. Francis Daisy did the tiling in July 2008.

tile design for Soufriere church in2008

tile design for Soufriere church in2008

New pews  were constructed in the SMA workshop as funding became available.

Since hurricane David, the once beautiful stained glass windows were in deplorable and damaged condition. Below are some of my photographs of the damaged windows.

In May 2014, Kelvin Cardinal Felix, Parish priest of St. Mark’s, installed three new Stained Glass windows, designed and produced by Vison Art Glass in Canada. It is the cardinal’s hope to continue the replacement of all the 18 windows.
Take some time off and visit this most beautiful church in Soufriere
 

Since hurricane David, the once beautiful stained glass windows were in deplorable and damaged condition.

In May 2014, Kelvin Cardinal Felix, Parish priest of St. Mark’s, installed three new Stained Glass windows, designed and produced by Vison Art Glass in Canada. It is the cardinal’s hope to continue the replacement of all the 18 windows.

Take some time off and visit this most beautiful church in Soufriere Continue reading