Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Sunday worship expected to be held at Cathedral despite fire damage

By Linda Straker

Sunday worship at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is expected to be back to normal this weekend despite the damage that was done to the Sacristy as a result of a fire last Sunday.

Administrator of the church, Father Valentine Anyanwu, said on Monday that a team of persons will have to calculate the damage, but believes that it can run into thousands.

“The area damaged also had the control for the Public Address system that is used during mass, the controller for the Tower and all other electronic equipment in the church,” he said, while explaining that as a result of the fire, mass was not held on Monday morning.

“And there will be no midday mass neither because the things required for having mass was either damaged or destroyed,” he explained.

He was unsure if mass will be held during the week and on Saturday, but was confident that there will be mass on Sunday.

“There is no electricity here now, but I am sure that something will be done in time for Sunday mass,” he said.

An official report from the Community Relations Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force said that firefighters responded to an emergency call around 11:30 a.m. and in quick time were able to contain the fire.

“The affected room sustained smoke, soot and fire damages to its ceiling as well as smoke and heat damages to the walls. The Church also lost several important documents, religious vestments including all of the altar servers’ gowns and the chasubles that are used by the priests and other items in the fire,” said the report, which did not provide details about the possible cause of the fire in which no one was injured.

The Cathedral was one of the landmark buildings in the city of St. George’s, which was totally destroyed by the passage of Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Along with a loan from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), special offerings collections and numerous fund-raisers, regular worshipping resumed at the Cathedral in 2010. The church still owes EC$1.8 million to the NIS.

Police later in the evening had to also respond to another fire, which completely destroyed the remains of Hamilton Building. The remains of that building, which was also damaged by Hurricane Ivan, became a residence for the homeless. It’s not clear what was responsible for that fire as police are investigating.

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