constructed by Bernard Lauwyck and Fr. Jean Guéry FMI

constructed by Fr. Jean Guéry FMI and Roy Tyson

 

fr-guerry-mahut-river-1995

Fr. Jean Guéry FMI and first communicants in 1995

It is difficult to present a 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.

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

The Canefield Church

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

Dominica’s National Shrine

Finishing touches by Caesar Catin at the National Shrine

national-shrine-angels-dec-2016

SANCTUS SANCTUS SANCTUS- HOLY HOLY HOLY

national-shrine-ceiling-dec-2016

CEILING WITH STARS

national-shrine-ceiling-and-angels-dec-2016

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

national-shrine-oct-31-2016

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.

la-salette-church-end-october-2016

progress-in-pointe-michel-oct-2016

church-of-our-lady-of-la-salette-oct-2016

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.
soufriere tiling July 2008 007

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

The exquisite church of MASSACRE in Dominica

The St. Paul and St. Ann church in Massacre is one of the most beautiful churches in Dominica.

x interior of St. Paul and St Ann's church in Massacre

 In 1987,  I worked with Fr. Franklyn Cuffy C.Ss.R. to construct a new roof and install a roof covering. architectural detail Massacre Church

Many years later, I got the opportunity to bring out the beauty of this church in and out, when Fr. Rodney Olive C.Ss.R. teamed up with Mrs. Nancy Nassief to bring Caribbean colours to this church.
Massacre church

The colour scheme proved quite durable as 10 years later the Massacre church still looks fabulous !!!

The stained glass windows were renovated by Bernard Clerici when Fr. Clement Jolly was Parish Priest.

Blessed Sacrament in Massacre church

Blessed Sacrament in Massacre church

Massacre church stained glass

Sacred Heart window in Massacre church

Sacred Heart window in Massacre church

St. Patrick’s church in Grandbay

beautiful interior of St. parick's church in GRANDBAY

beautiful interior of St. Patrick’s church in GRANDBAY  in 2010 and below 2015

Grandbay June 20 2015

101_PANA-P1010138_P1010138Grandbay church tower

On 25 November 1866, René Marie- Charles Poirier, third Bishop of Roseau wrote to the Propagation of the Faith in Rome “The parish of “Grande-Baie”, ancient mission of the Jesuits, has been abandoned since. The chapel is in ruins, without roof, without door, without windows, and overtaken by bushes ” After the Jesuits abandoned their Geneva estate before 1764 , the Catholic Church never regained possession of the Geneva estate although the use of the chapel and burial ground on that estate continued. This was not without problems. In 1844 there was a violence in the Grandbay area and one of the reasons was “that the attorney of these properties had caused the Roman Catholic Chapel on the Geneva Estate to be locked up which gave great offence”. Attempts by Bishop Poirier in 1866 to secure the portion of land around the chapel for the Catholic Church from the Geneva estate legal owners proved unsuccessful, so a new church was built at the outskirts of the Geneva estate. This parish church, located in the neighbourhood of the present church tower, was the first church in Dominica to be solemnly consecrated. This was in early 1905.101_PANA-P1010151_P1010151 The first time we read about the present parish church in Grandbay , outside the Geneva Estate, is in the Ecclesiastical Bulletin of 1919: “The Bishop left Roseau for Grandbay on April 28, 1919 and held, on the following day, the confirmation service, after the Solemn High Mass, sung by the Rev. Fr. Baudry, FMI, Parish Priest of La Plaine. The presence of 8 priests in the sanctuary enhanced the solemnity and the impressiveness of the Divine Service. 250 confirmation candidates, with their godfathers and godmothers, filled the church. It was, on this occasion, observed once more that the large parish of Grandbay needed a larger church. Rumor has it that the parish priest Fr. Francois had renounced his plans to enlarging the present parochial church, and was, with the Bishop’s approval, determined upon building a new, spacious church.” The parish had increased to well over 4,000 inhabitants, nearly all Catholics. It was decided to build a new church, much larger and much more beautiful than the existing one. Works were started in 1921 and it was considered that it would require 2 years to complete. But, owing to the unforeseen rise in the cost of building materials all available money was spent long before the walls were finished and the people, on account of the trying times, were unable to help, though they showed much good will in voluntary labour.     (sources The Ecclesiastical bulletin of Roseau and the history written by James Moris)Grandbay bell tower .(sources The Ecclesiastical bulletin of Roseau and the history written by James Moris) The present church was renovated with rust proof Aluminium sheets in 1989. At that time it lost the “gargoyles” or waterspouts, an architectural element which reminded the parishioners of devils. The floor was beautifully tiled by Fr. Krastel C.ss. R with a financial grant from Fr. Albert Lamothe (+ 2010). He also expanded the cemetery. Fr. Mark Owen C.Ss.R set up a hardworking pew or bench committee under the chairmanship of president Liverpool. He also replaced the concrete blocks in the windows with timber shutters with stainless steel hooks and stained glass, redid the sacristy, built the choir stalls in the choir loft, and installed a new PA system. Very Rev. Fr. Mark Owen C.Ss.R also brought out the beauty of the architecture of this church by painting it with the colours green and gold/orange, colours associated with the Irish saint St. Patrick. In 2010, Most Rev. Kelvin Felix, archbishop emeritus, replaced the rest of the church pews and added the sanctuary screen and celebrant’s chair.Grandbay celebrant chairs

photograph by Monsignor William John Lewis

photograph by Monsignor William John Lewis

Some of the old wooden church pews, still made with hand tools, were salvaged and refinished. The beautiful church, which you should visit, reminds each of us of the strong faith of the parishioners of St. Patrick’s parish, both past and present.GRANDBAY church