Front view of Holy Redeemer Church in Belize City, 1915
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Tuesday June 13, 2017

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Holy Redeemer Cathedral with new towers and clerestory (about 1908), in all its brick glory. Later it was covered in plaster or cement.

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Front view of Holy Redeemer Church in Belize City, 1915

When we lived in Belize City, every Sunday, like clockwork, mass at Holy Redeemer! We always sat in the same place, on the side by the canal, and the unusual mixture of smells, sewage, incense and perfume, are part of my memories. If I think of Holy Redeemer, I think of that. Yes, Holy Redeemer is central to my memories.

Top photo from 1915, second photo from about 1908.

Harold Usher: One of the most vivid memories I have of Belize City is this Church and its associated School (Holy Redeemer), as well as its entire property from Hyde's Lane to Queen Street and From North Front Street to New Road, including it Boarding Houses on New Road, the Canal running through, the Play Ground at the back, the Toilets (girls and boys separately) over the Canal, the Cathedral (Church), the Rectory and Priests residence at the back, the earlier St. John's College (SJC) above the LITTLE Credit Union (on North Front Street) and the Vogue, the other playground in front of Turton's office with a big square (Water) WELL at the back, the Class-rooms, especially the lower levels, like Sub 1 and Sub 2, and the upper Levels, which I did not attend, the Church's Metal gates (I burst my head open on one of them - still have the DENT), and so much more. It was my stomping ground when I attended school there (Sub 1 and Sub 2) and for several years after since it was close to my home in Price Alley. I even remember Mr. Marin selling all his nice confectionary and sweets and fruits, like peeled oranges (all which I adapted in later years to make a few cents of my own using my box cart) in his Cart across the street (North Front Street) from the school. Gosh, I could see his face and statute and features right now in my minds eyes. Similarly, I can still picture my teachers of Sub 1, Miss Marie and Sister Mary, and Sub 2, Miss Violet and Sister Catherine. I remember the Court Yard where some played Tennis and the Hall upstairs of the Class Rooms (Cathedral Hall, I think we called it) where we acted in Plays and others played basketball. I can even remember a few of the students of the time, most prominently are the three Zabaneh Brothers - they were older than me, but always popular. They lived on Barack's Road and later their father picked them all up and moved to Stann Creek (Dangriga). 1940's! Oh, yea, I left Holy Redeemer and started Std 1 at St. Mary's, because my mother operated a Sewing (Seamstress) shop on Handyside Street. I remember Sister Xavier, unfortunately I didnít stay to be taught by her!


George Villanueva: In 1852 Fr. Bertolio came to build the first Catholic Church in Belize city, for the Holy Redeemer Parish. With him came a schoolmaster Henry Trumbach, whose mother would teach the girls. There were then about 250 Catholics in Belize city, in 1853 Fr. George Avvaro was appointed the first Jesuit superior in Belize, serving until 1872. As mission residing in Belize city, he functioned also as a pastor of Holy Redeemer parish.

On July 17, 1856, fire swept through the north town destroying the church & rectory. Land was obtained from the Belize Estate & Produce Co, for building a rectory, school & church. The church & school were of bricks, the rectory of wood. The church building was dedicated 1858, would be enlarged and restored over the next century and become the present Holy Redeemer Cathedral, home to both the parish and the Bishop.

Photograph courtesy Belize Abroad

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