Preparation of the St Francis RC Church, Belmont for restoration began September 1.
Parish priest Fr Thomas Lawson OP in a message to parishioners stated, “with a grateful thanks to God, I announce the starting of restoration of our beloved church”. He continued: “The resurfacing and paving of the church compound took place on the weekend of 21st and 22nd August through the generosity of some well-wishers. We take it as a sign from God that God is with us. We are grateful for all the good people within the parish and outside of the parish who are working fastidiously to help with this mammoth project”.
He asked for prayers that everything will run smoothly and the fruits of their labour when the church is completed God willing.
The Catholic News in January reported the project was expected to start in March, but timelines had to be adjusted as the tenders for the electricals, stained and clear glass were sent out in February and contractors had asked for additional time to submit their bids. When the bids were received, they went to the Tender Evaluation Committee and then the Tender Approval Committee. The recommended contractors selected were referred to the Archdiocese Building Committee (ABC) and after some discussion with the Committees and ABC, approval of the recommended contractor subsequently given.
On August 19, Fr Lawson signed off on the contract with the selected contractor.
Phase one restoration of the 118-year-old church, designated a heritage site by the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago will entail replacement of the roof, replacement of electricals e.g., fans and lights, restoration of the 30 clerestory windows and new frames installed. Minor structural work will be done.
St Francis was closed to the public in 2010 because structural issues made the building unsafe.
Anyone interested in financially supporting St Francis RC’s restoration can do so by crediting the parish’s account at Republic Bank, Woodbrook #510800063201. —LPG