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The church named after St Joseph at ‘withered arm’

On June 24, 1942, His Grace Archbishop Finbar Ryan OP laid the foundation stone of the St Joseph the Worker RC Church, Brasso Seco.

Archbishop Ryan on May 1, 1963, blessed and opened the church on its patronal feast. The first Mass was celebrated by Fr Cornelius O’Riordan OP, the Parish Priest for all benefactors living and dead. Governor General Sir Solomon Hochoy and his wife Lady Thelma Hochoy, Vicar General Fr Reginald Barry OP, 50 priests and a “large gathering of parishioners and well-wishers from across the country” were in attendance.

The land on which the church is constructed was donated by Mr Estiliano Pacheco and Mrs Eugenia Perreira and the site was cleared by voluntary local labour according to The Catholic News Saturday, May 4, 1963.

Joachim Pacheco said his grandfather had estates in Brasso Seco and in 1954 his father, Estiliano brought the family to settle. Pacheco (J) attended primary school in Brasso Seco along with his siblings, “five in all,” and cousins. “Many Pachecos lived in the area” he said.

He remembers Fr O’Riordan taking the boys of the area on drives to Blanchisseuse, Morne La Croix, Moruga, Toco, “all over the place”. Pacheco, a former altar server at Brasso Seco RC, said Fr O’Riordan trained altar ladies and girls.

He commented that “after all the talk about building a church, he [Fr O’Riordan] got it going”. Pacheco attends the St Joseph the Worker church saying, “that is my life. I worship here. I belong to Brasso Seco. I was the principal of the school (1988 to 2009).”

The Brasso Seco RC Church has a modern design with a “touch of Romanesque”, reported The Catholic News. The plan was drawn, modified, and executed by R Cooper of Arima. Fr Edward Foley OP of Holy Cross College Arima designed the baptismal font, and it was built by Daniel Gordon of Arima.

The people of Brasso Seco and friends of the parish, individually or collectively, made or donated cushions, curtains, kneelers for the communion rail and some vestments etc. Archbishop Ryan presented a statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Various communities of Religious Sisters donated the Stations of the Cross, the statues of St Joseph and Our Lady Queen of the Universe and some of the altar linen.

The wrought iron cross on the tower and the “beautiful crucifix” behind the altar were given by R Cooper.

St Joseph the Worker RC received a tabernacle, sacred vessels, and other smaller items for church furnishings through the efforts of Fr PJ Long OP of Dundalk, Ireland, the Down and Connor Apostolic Work Society. The DeBurgho chalice used in the first Mass was another gift from Ireland.

The CN reported, “the fund for the new church began by past parish priests of Blanchisseuse parish and a great number here and abroad donated money either directly or by supporting the many projects in aid of the building fund”.

After the Mass of Consecration of the church, Archbishop Ryan lit the sanctuary lamp, a symbol of “divine presence”. He told the congregation, “It is a wonderful thing for Brasso Seco that here in your midst Our Divine Lord should establish Himself as your dearest and most interested Friend to be with you, all the power radiates from Him…”

Archbishop Ryan said “Our Lord has come to you in His living Presence, from today a new living Catholic vigour begins. To what use is the church if the people don’t come. Come here to receive the sacraments, hear the living word of God and attend to the real Sacrifice of the Saviour for your eternal salvation. Let me say to the mothers and fathers of Brasso Seco: Train your children from their earliest steps to find their way to the Church to praise Our Lord, raise prayers to His Holy Mother and invoke the continuing protection of St Joseph, now appointed the special guardian of Brasso Seco, his people, homes and families.” –LPG


The name Brasso Seco is a corruption of the Spanish word brazo marchito which means ‘withered arm’. The miracle of the healing of the man with the withered hand is recorded in the synoptic gospels.