Category Archives: Upgrading of Liturgical spaces

Dominica’s National Shrine

Finishing touches by Caesar Catin at the National Shrine

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SANCTUS SANCTUS SANCTUS- HOLY HOLY HOLY

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CEILING WITH STARS

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PROGRESS in Pointe Michel church after the fire (22th July 2016)

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photograph of October 31, 2016

The cleaning and painting works are advancing slowly but surely at the Dominica’s National Shrine at Pointe Michel.

Below are some images from  October 21,  2016.

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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

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.

THE ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA CHAPEL in TOUCARIE

The St. Anthony of Padua chapel in Toucarie 

by Bernard Lauwyck

Mural by Lennox Honychurch depicting Toucarie Chapel

Mural by Lennox Honychurch depicting Toucarie Chapel

One of the places in Dominica,  I really experienced  the Holy Spirit working in the People of God, is Toucarie.  It was a privilege to assist this Catholic community with the renovation of their chapel between 2004 and 2009, an exciting  experience of  “ Church building church together” .

St. Anthony chapel in Toucarie Aug 2014

The chapel, dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua, overlooks one of the most beautiful bays in Dominica.

St. Anthony's feast in June 2005

St. Anthony’s feast in June 2005

We know from THE ECCLESIASTICAL BULLETIN OF ROSEAU  that Fr. William Martel, the builder of the first church in Roseau,  erected a chapel in 1731 on the Malalia Bay, also called “Trou Carré or “Toucarry” or Toucarie  :   “Fr. Martel  says so himself in a letter to his superiors [that he built  a chapel in Toucarie].  Up to the present there stands, on or near the same spot, a chapel dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua, and nearby is a graveyard where  a certain Father Dominique was buried many years ago”.

At that time, in 1731, Portsmouth had no church yet.

In May 1925 Bishop Moris wrote that it was Father Paul Tavernier  FMI  “who built the present [=1925] chapel of Toucarry”.  This chapel was blessed on February 24, 1886  by Bishop Michael Naughten , Bishop of Roseau from 1879 till his death in1900.  He was assisted by six priests, presumably Fr. Paul’s French colleagues, the Pères de Chavagnes or Fils de Marie Immaculée (F.M.I.) . “The congregation” wrote Bishop Naughten “was very large. A very poor collection was taken up.  However , there is nothing but poverty at present in Dominica”.

Fr. Paul Tavernier was the priest who died, 10 months later,  during a fire on board of the steamship “France” as I have recounted before.

It must have been Fr. Gustave Berthomé  F.M.I., Parish Priest of Portsmouth from 1888 till his death in 1905, who installed the small church bell that still rings over the bay of Toucarie today.  The 8” diameter bronze bell, named ANTOINETTE, was cast in 1898 in  the foundries of the ASTIER family in the French town of Nantes.

Toucarie June 2006

The chapel that Fr. Paul built and that Bishop Moris mentioned in his 1925 article must have been in a dilapidated state by 1955.   Euphemie  McIntyre, née Douglas recounts that her father rebuilt the chapel in 1956  [ see “REACHING FOR THE TOP: The extraordinary Life of Robert Bernard Douglas”] .  The uniquely shaped tower is indeed dated June 1956.

It was Fr. Charles Martin, who asked me in 2004 to assist the Catholic community in Toucarie as it seemed that the chapel was sinking .

The works to construct a retaining wall to stabilize the foundations and flooring, were started on Carnival Tuesday 2004.  To my surprise and delight, a sizable team of volunteers, men and women, showed up during carnival to do the excavation  for the retaining wall.

This wall and a new roof  were completed just in time for the feast of St. Anthony in June 2005.  The local team of workers was directed by Hubert Carrette and Sebastian Royer, of which I have fond memories.

All these works had to be coordinated by the chapel renovation committee, with whom I had many meetings late at night.

old rusty tower

old rusty tower

After a pause of a few months, which enabled additional fund raising, works were started on the  tower,  which was weakened by the earthquake of November 21,  2004 .   New arched windows with coloured plexiglass,  installed in September  2007, enhanced the liturgical space.  A new entrance door completed the building in 2008.

Recently, access has been created from a side road so that worshippers no longer have to climb 24 steps to reach the chapel.

Visit this beautiful chapel and support this faithful Catholic community.

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Pointe Michel church after the fire

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work in progress : Dominica’s National Shrine on Sept. 23 2016

fire/arson at Dominica’s National Shrine

On Friday 22 July 2016 shortly after 8 pm a fire was detected in the church at Pointe Michel, dedicated to our Lady of La Salette; Dominica’s National Shrine

This week cleaning efforts were started as shown below :

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