Guyana: Fire destroys historic Jesuit church and school

 Fire has destroyed a historic church in Georgetown, Guyana, the second church of the British Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) to have burnt down in less than a month. Parishioners openly wept and hugged each other as they watched a Christmas Day electrical fire rip through the 134-year-old Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church at the South American city. Father Lourduraj Arokiasamy SJ said the blaze started when electrical flashing lights in the Nativity crib at the altar sparked a fire. "It happens such a catastrophe. God has a message. God will still guide us because such things happen to us in our lives of the holy people and dedicated people," he said. He said none of the 65 parishioners, who had been attending Christmas morning Mass, were injured in the blaze, which destroyed the wooden church. The nearby Jesuit residence and the Sacred Heart public school were also destroyed, along with records dating back to the 1930s. Principal Yonnette Johnson is uncertain where the students and 45 teachers will go when classes resume on January 3. "We have lost everything and that includes records which, perhaps, are irreplaceable," she said. Sacred Heart Church was one of the oldest in Guyana and was recognised as a national monument. Last month, Holy Redeemer Church in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis (where the parish priest is Father Paul Hackett SJ) was also destroyed by fire. Source: Jesuit Media Office

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