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Our Lady of Perpetual Help being fumigated

By CECILY ASSON Friday, August 10 2012

In case you are wondering what is happening with the Pro-Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH) Roman Catholic Church on Harris Promenade, San Fernando? All that is really taking place is a fumigation process to rid the building of termites.

Parish priest Monsignor Christian Pereira told Newsday yesterday that termites have been eating away at wooden structures inside the church causing extensive damage to pews, and even the church organ.

He said: “It (fumigation) has been in the pipeline for a long while. We needed to have the church fumigated because of the termites that we have inside the church and the destruction it has done to the organ and the pews. We have to get it done.”

It is costing the church $106,000 to have the entire church fumigated, Pereira said..

The large structure has been totally covered with a massive bright multi-coloured tarpaulin and since Monday morning when work began, has been drawing curious stares from passers-by. Pereira went on to say: “Workmen began covering the church on Monday, and it was totally covered yesterday (Wednesday). The work is expected to be completed over the weekend.”.

Because of the activity, church services are now being held next door in the auditorium of the Bishop John Mendes hall.

Pereira further explained that vikane gas which has been described as being “colourless and odourless, and quickly penetrates structural materials during whole structure fumigation”is being used in the fumigation process.

“They are using vikane gas to kill every living thing inside the church, termites, roaches, whatever is there”

The process takes between three to four days, and will be completed in time for special mass next week.

The landmark church in the city of San Fernando which is currently celebrating its 225th jubilee year was recently declared a pro-cathedral by Archbishop of Port-of-Spain, Father Joseph Harris.

On August 15 (Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary) at 6 pm, Harris will celebrate his first mass at the pro-cathedral. The representative of Pope Benedict XVI Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Nicola Girasoli,.will also speak at the mass.

By the church being declared a pro-cathedral, Harris has been temporarily transferred to Harris Promenade, San Fernando , which has become, for the time being, the Archbishop’s, and the Archdiocese’s main church.

Pereira explained how a church is declared a pro-cathedral.

“A cathedral is a church where the chair, which is a ‘cathedra’ of the Archbishop is,” Pereira went on to say.. “The Archbishop needs a chair to exercise his preaching authority, and because the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Port-of-Spain is closed for renovations, he has to select a church somewhere in the country. Because this is the second major city in the country, he decided to have his chair located in San Fernando.”

Harris recently visited Rome where the pallium was conferred on him by Pope Benedict XVI and the holy mass next Wednesday is being held in thanksgiving.

Pereira also explained the significance of the pallium.

Pereira said: “A pallium is a small vestment that archbishops are given as a sign of unity with the Pope, and as a sign of the authority because the archbishops have authority over bishops.

He said Harris has in his jurisdiction the bishops of Suriname, Guyana, Curacao, St Vincent and Barbados,

“He is the Archbishop of Trinidad over these bishops. The pallium is a symbol of his authority.”

Parishioners from across the country are expected to converge on the Harris Promenade on Wednesday for the significant ceremony. Pereira said large televison screens will be set up outside the church

“It is a great honour for the San Fernando people, but an honour that helps us to be of greater service to the wider church. We will continue to try do what we can, to work with the Archbishop and to work with all the other parishes to build up the church of Trinidad,” Pereira concluded.

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