Easter procession at the Roman Catholic Church of Ambergris Caye, also some history about the church
The island of Ambergris Caye was auctioned on the 13th of September 1869 and the successful bidder at $625.00 was James Hume Blake, a British magistrate of the Corozal District. The only land exempted from the sale was a lot given for the purpose of building a Roman Catholic Church in the village of San Pedro. At this time the village was inhabited by several Mestizo families who had fled from the Caste War in Yucatan and settled in the village which they named San Pedro.
The property given to the Catholic Church was left unoccupied for many years until early in the 1900's some village men began this labor of love and unity.
Who built the first church is unknown, but shortly after the Blake House it is said that the villagers did so. The Blake's helped with its construction since they were a very fervent Catholic family. It was a concrete building, beautiful and outstanding among the thatch houses in the village. The Roman Catholic Church had an uninterrupted view o f the Caribbean Sea and was the pride of San Pedro. It was this same Caribbean Sea that destroyed the church in the 1942 Hurricane.
There is a big looming question still. Who does that vacated church property belong to? The R.C. Church or The Town Council? However the villagers of San Pedro would not have it without a church and by 1949, or thereabout, they had built with the help of Papa Blake and is lovely wife Elena Blake Alamilla a brand new church.
This one was built on a lot also owned by the Blake's. It was an all wooden structure with verandah all around. Because Papa Bake had a daughter who was a nun, he also added a U-shaped building which served for the nuns' vacation home on the island complete with dormitory, kitchen and dining room. Even though it was a property for the nuns and the Catholic Church, it was also used by the Belize Scout during their summer vacations and in time it was popularly known as the Scout Room.
For more information on the history of the church, click here, here, here, and here.
Top photograph by Ambergris Today
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