PARISHIONERS of the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church on Main Street, Georgetown are eagerly looking forward to the reopening of the new building, constructed after fire completely destroyed the original edifice eight years ago.
Speaking at the church’s annual cross buns’ sale on Thursday, March 28, several parishioners shared their views on what a return to the Main Street place of worship would mean for them and the surrounding communities.
Melissa De Santos has been a member of the church for over 30 years, and has been closely involved in the reconstruction efforts. “Notwithstanding all the challenges over the years associated with the reconstruction of the building, we are at a point now where the reopening is merely months away. It will be very nice to have our own ‘home’ once again,” De Santos said.
Echoing similar sentiments, Tessa Fraser said she is extremely happy to be returning to the place which has positively impacted her life in many different ways.
“It will feel great to be back together as a family. I was married (at) the church, and was baptized right here. The return to our ‘home’ will give us the opportunity to continue important activities, such as our Bible classes and feeding programme that benefited the neighbouring communities. Weddings, funeral services, and so many other activities that members get support for, from the church will now once again be able to happen as we return to our own building,” Fraser, who has been attending Sacred Heart for 13 years, pointed out.
Michael Abrams, who was once an altar boy and member of the church’s choir, said he is overwhelmed with joy to see the building in its final stages of construction after the terrible devastation. “I have been a member of Scared Heart for more than 30 years. I cannot find the words to describe how overwhelmed I am by the rebuilding of the church. I remember rushing down here on the day of the fire, not wanting to believe that it was true, that the building was really on fire. It was a really terrible feeling to see the whole church destroyed. The challenges we faced throughout the reconstruction process were, however, more than worth it. It’s a joyous feeling to be able to return,” Abrams said.
Chairman of the Sacred Heart Rebuilding Committee, Ramsay Ali, said that, from all indications, the church will be reopened in December of this year. “We are looking at December for the reopening. As things stand now, we need $20M more for the completion of construction works, and an additional $25M for furnishing of the building.”
Ali was optimistic that the remaining funds would be acquired in time to ensure the completion of the building by December. A significant part of the funding came from corporate businesses in Guyana, and donations were also received from parishioners, both in Guyana and overseas.
“The Bishop has agreed that the daily and weekly mid-day mass will be moved from the Brickdam Cathedral to Sacred Heart, when the church is reopened. We will also be able to restart our outreach efforts in the community, which has a positive impact, particularly on children, who benefit from our feeding programme and educational activities,” he added.
The Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church was completely destroyed on Christmas morning 2004 as a result of a fire believed to be electrical in origin. Sixty-five parishioners were in the building when the fire began, but all managed to escape unhurt.
The adjoining Sacred Heart Primary School was also destroyed in the fire.
Persons desirous of making donations towards the completion of the church’s reconstruction are asked to do so through Republic Bank Guyana Limited account # 268-496-7; Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry Limited account # CIDA 802530; The New Building Society Ltd account #134769; Scotiabank Guyana account # 10006626; or visit the church online at: www.sacredheart.gy.