Our History

Stained Glass windows of St. Peter's

The name, Pointe-a-Pierre, is reminiscent of the French planters of the late 18th and 19th centuries who had most of the land on the western coast under cultivation.

In 1687, the Catalan Capuchins established a mission at Savonetta, now Pointe-a-Pierre. In 1850, a certain Mr. Danglade donated three acres of land on a knoll for the purpose of erecting a Catholic Church. The land was surrounded north, east and south by the Bon Accord Estate, with the west side being close to the sea. In 1865, a wooden chapel and a presbytery were built on the upper part of the knoll. Two years later, the chapel was enlarged by the first parish priest, Rev. Fr. J. B. Rabanit who remained at Point-a-Pierre for 34 years.

The year 1882 was an eventful one for the parish, marked by the dedication of the new and elegant chapel at Pointe-a-Pierre. The dedication of this chapel was one of the grandest ceremonies ever held by the Roman Catholics anywhere in the Naparimas. This was due not only to the hardworking cure, Father Rabanit nor to San Fernando’s dynamic parish priest, Father Andre Violette, but in large measure to the railway which was still novelty. Scores of persons, who before would never have made the difficult journey to Pointe-a-Pierre, now availed themselves to the latest mode of transportation.

The dedication ceremony took place on Sunday 23rd September 1882, with such pomp and splendour as was seldom seen in the countryside. The trains brought great crowds of people to the ceremony. Also arriving by train, much to the excitement of the faithful, was the Archbishop Louis Gonin. There was as yet no railway station so the train stopped at the foot of Bon Accord hill, where the Archbishop stepped out to a rousing welcome by the crowd. There to receive him were Fathers Rabanit and Violette. From there they were driven to the church in the carriage of Mr. Smyth, the manager of the Concord Estate. At the ceremony, performed most elaborately by the Archbishop, no fewer than thirty-six children received the Sacrament of Holy Communion for the first time.

From 1933 to 1963, the parish of St. Peter’s was entrusted to the Benedictine monks who were in succession: Rev. Fathers Odilo Van Tangeren, Maurus Maingot, Suitbert de Zwart, John Chrysostom, Martin Van Enschot and John Osbourne. Fr. Maingot was the one who sold his parishioners the idea of starting a credit union. This was the beginning of the well established and reputable TECU Credit Union. From 1963 to 1971 local priests assumed the ministry: Rev. Fathers Reginald Hezechiah, Terry Julien, J. Jubrasingh and Malcolm de Verteuil, who must be credited for advocating the construction of a new church for the community of Marabella.

From 1971, the parish passed to the Dominicans with Rev. Fathers K. Sheridan, Ronan Cusak and R.M. Bennet serving in that order. Also assisting for short periods during this time were Fathers Cockburn, Duffy and Rivas. The latter is currently serving as Archbishop of St. Lucia.

The co-ordinating team responsible for effecting the re-building of the church at Marabella in 1973 were: Mr. Willie Chen, Mr. Mervin Chang and Tony Look Tong. The Marabella Presbyterian Community shared their church with us to conduct weekly Mass for one year.

The new church was opened Sunday 25th May by then Archbishop of Port-of-Spain, Anthony Pantin. The name was changed from St. Michael’s to Christ the Lord. Father Bennet was succeeded by Fathers Brennan, Milner, Timminey and Graham in that order.

Father Seignoret was appointed Parish Priest in 1988 and spear-headed the construction of the church at Plaissance Park. Father Kenneth Spence followed and refurbished the church at Marabella re-introducing the name, St. Michael’s. The church was from then called Christ the Lord and St. Michael’s.

In 2008, 321 years after the Capuchins, the Parish was once again under the spiritual direction of a Dominican. Father Urban Hudlin O.P. was appointed Parish Priest in 2003 until August 2009. Under his leadership the Parish has experienced a revival manifested in the strengthening of some already existing ministries and the birth of many new ones. *When Fr. Hudlin left in August 2009 to further his studies in the US, Monsignor Michael de Verteuil was appointed parish priest, a first time appointment he is currently fulfilling.*

The Parish of St. Peter’s, Pointe-a-Pierre now comprises four communities:

St. Peter’s, Pointe-a-Pierre…..Christ the Lord and St. Michael’s, Marabella……Mary Immaculate, Queen of the Universe, Plaisance Park …and…Holy Cross, Claxton Bay

Our four churches are modern and beautifully designed, two of which are fully air-conditioned. The ambience of our worship spaces, anointed preaching and the music ministry of anyone of our five dynamic choirs, contribute to the joy felt by all whenever we gather for Holy Mass or Service.

At St. Peter’s, we are Catholics Alive in Solidarity. We are grateful to God and his servants who have made possible the physical and spiritual growth of our parish. We pray that Almighty God may continue to pour out His blessings.

Source:

Parish Beat, Author-unknown.

*not inserted in original document.

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