Member of the Catholic Fund Raising Committee, Val Cuffy has revealed that close to $3.6-million is still needed for the completion of the Roseau Roman Catholic Cathedral renovation project.
He made that announcement while addressing a press conference held at the Bishop Arnold Boghaert Catholic Center Conference Room in Roseau on Thursday.
“We are going to need, in terms of completion, almost EC$3.6-million, which is going to be needed to be raised, not only because we are trying to do cake sales and bar-b-ques, but we are looking forward to the corporate community,” Cuffy said. “There are many Catholics out there in Dominica, who I know and you all know that can contribute significantly and to give the support that is needed, and we are calling on them to make their contribution because throughout our life, we have our physical life but there is a spiritual journey and we depend on the Catholic church for our Baptism, our First Communion, our Confirmation, our weddings and our death.”
He said the effort to raise the monies, the committee will be hosting a Grand Bazaar and a family fun day at the St Mary’s Academy grounds on August 14.
Cuffy said the church has raised over $6 million thus far and has spent over $5-million.
“We have just under $800,000 left in terms of figures we have now that we can work with,” he stated.
Meantime, Bishop of the Diocese of Roseau, His Lordship, Gabriel Malzaire, expects the renovation works to be completed about mid-2018.
“According to my mind, I wouldn’t want the project to go beyond mid-2018,” he stated. “It has been a long journey and we have waited long enough. I thought initially of putting it up to 2017, but I realized that it would be a very tall order, so about mid-2018, I hope that we would have a full fledge cathedral and we will be able to re-opening it and re-commission it, and re-consecrate it and everybody will be able to come.”
Bishop Malzaire noted that what was intended to be the replacement of the roof, turned out to be a much bigger project.
“Because midway in our planning process, we thought that given the fact that we had the experience of the earthquake in the north which happened in 2004, it was advisable that we do what we call a seismic test of the foundation of the Cathedral,” he explained.
He revealed that since the project started, there have been four lots associated with it, with its final lot [Lot 5] to begin in the next month.
“We are moving towards Lot 5, which is the actual placement of the roof material which we had been waiting for practically a year,” Malzaire revealed. “We are awaiting the material from America and at a certain point we had to re-measure, because it is a very complex roof, and therefore we had to do some precise measurements which was responsible for the delay at the moment. Fortunately, at a project management meeting yesterday we got the good news that the material is just about to be shipped to Dominica. So in the next month or so we hope that we would have the roof material down here in Dominica and the work will continue.”
He said according to the engineers the placement of the roof will take about three months.
Lot 1 began by decommissioning the Cathedral and the removal of the furniture, while the 2nd lot was the removal of the asbestos roof, the 3rd lot was the retrofitting of the foundation and the walls of the structure, while the 4th lot involved the placement of the steel frames that are now exposed at the Cathedral.