Penal parish alive
May 4, 2021
Rachel’s Prayer
May 4, 2021

Sacred Heart RC – the ‘English Church’

In the heart of the city, on Richmond Street, stands an architectural gem, the Sacred Heart RC Church.

The church was completed in 1882, from plans drawn by Louis Auguste de Jacques de Labastide (1846–1882). It is constructed with limestone, brick, stone and is a limestone English Gothic Revival church with ballast brick quoins and trims, featuring pointed, arched, stained-glass windows and entrances, and asymmetrical elevations.

The Church is recognised for its beautiful stained-glass windows and grand marble altar, which have all remained intact.

Sacred Heart Church, also known as the ‘English Church’ appears to have been constructed with the intent to serve English-speaking Catholics during a time in which the Catholic community was predominantly French in origin and the language in Trinidad. The Church retains its architectural integrity and possesses strong individual architectural merit.

Today, Sacred Heart Church continues its original function as a religious facility catering to workers in the area who attend midday service during the work week.

Many families have been blessed with fond memories of Baptisms, First Communions and weddings. Many have bid a sombre farewell at funerals for relatives and friends. All these families whose lives have been touched should consider helping in any way they could.

This architectural gem is in dire need of restoration and repair. While its stained-glass windows are recognised for their beauty, the interior walls of the Church are a mismatch of limestone, brick, and cement.

There is a galvanised roof without a ceiling, which means that when rain falls it is quite difficult to hear the homilies being preached. The heat inside the church is unbearable without a radiant barrier and proper ceiling.

The walls, doors, bathrooms, lighting, and sound system are all in need of repair. The spectacular, main-entrance wooden doors need refurbishing, and there is a challenge to be addressed with rainwater flooding into the church under the doors.

The exterior of the church requires landscaping, and the grotto of Our Lady needs refurbishing to appropriately honour our Blessed Mother. The recent maintenance works saw the removal of trees growing on the roof, however, some pinnacles are in dire need of repair, to avoid falling concrete on cars parked and children on the school compound.

Your help is needed to restore this sacred space in the heart of downtown Port of Spain. —Archbishop’s Appeal