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Historic church reopens


Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB of Georgetown welcomed back church goers Sunday, July 11, as he reopened the 96-year-old church of Our Lady of Peace at Mahaicony.

There had not been any religious activity in or around the historic building since 2014, mainly because of the dilapidated state it had fallen into, according to an article in Catholic Standard. The report said that regular Services and Masses were expected to resume from that Sunday.

Work on the church building and surroundings began in February 2021 with the assistance of a paid contractor and much self-help through which the grounds were cleared of all bushes. Damaged floorboards were replaced, the entire floor and all of the benches were repainted and the roof over the sanctuary was repaired.

The article said “a very appreciative congregation” joined the small community including Catholics from Enmore, Mahaica, Beterverwagting and members of the Cathedral Sunshine choir for the opening.

In his homily, Bishop Alleyne spoke of the great gift of worshipping in community and living lives as a faith community with honesty and integrity.

At communion, Bishop Alleyne administered the Sacrament of First Holy Communion to 11 children from the communities of Mahaica and Mahaicony. Concelebrating with the Bishop were Frs Bobby Joseph SJ and Amar Bage SJ.

The Our Lady of Peace church was built in 1925 by Jamaica-born Fr John Purcell who ministered in Buxton in 1892 as well as Morawhanna, Henrietta and Bartica, Guyana.

He also served as manager of the Catholic school in Victoria and was largely responsible for the building of the Sacred Heart chapel at the Mahaica Hospital.

Fr Purcell, the second editor of the Catholic Standard (1908–1939), died on March 4,1939 and his remains are buried at the eastern area of the Mahaicony church compound.

“One rare feature of the building is that it was not built with blocks but cast in reinforced concrete. The statues, baptismal font and Stations of the Cross, all of which were acquired by Father Purcell, are all said to be very beautiful, unique pieces,” the article said.