In 1844 at a small village of Malgre Tout, West Bank Demerara, a request was made for a priest to minister to the community’s spiritual needs. A priest from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Brickdam was assigned to this task. He began frequent, regular visits to say Mass in a house by the river and to carry on other pastoral activities. Thus was the small, humble beginning of Malgre Tout parish.
To commemorate the church’s 175th anniversary, a week of celebrations was planned commencing with a special Mass Monday, March 25. Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB was the main celebrant at which seven priests concelebrated.
First Lady Sandra Granger, along with a number of community leaders were among the scores who filled the Our Lady of the Annunciation Church, Malgre Tout church, including religious sisters from the Missionaries of Charity, among others.
The active involvement of the diverse members of the parish and strong sense of community was very evident, according to a report from Catholic Standard.
The diocesan weekly reported that Bishop Alleyne spoke about the formation of the community and what it would have been like in those times. The persons who formed the community, he observed, must have encountered many challenges to get to their place of worship travelling by boat, bicycle, even on foot but they persevered because of their faith.
Malgre Tout was seen as the ‘Cathedral’ for the West Bank, with persons travelling from the Cathedral in Georgetown to worship at Malgre Tout on many occasions.
A parishioner who did the welcome said that Malgre Tout means “in spite of all” and their community has continued to grow and remained strong over the years in spite of it all.
The week-long celebrations included entertainment for senior citizens on Wednesday March 27 and the distribution of 175 lunches to the needy that Friday.
The organisers hoped the momentum, involvement and enthusiasm which was built up in the community through the hosting of the anniversary celebrations will lead to a more active parish in the future. They are expecting that among the first fruits will be a youth group and men’s guild.