Words from Bishop Wim de Bekker of Paramaribo, Suriname, during the reconsecration of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, yesterday. The cathedral, which is the largest all-wood church in the world, had been out of use for 25 years after dry-rot, termites and ground settlement had rendered it unsafe for use. With the exterior renovated, the cathedral is once again ready to fulfill its role as the church of Suriname’s only diocese.
As part of the renovation efforts, the remains of Blessed Petrus Donders, a Dutch priest who worked as a missionary among the lepers in the nineteenth century, was entombed in a specially-designed chapel.
Representing the Netherlands, of which Suriname was a colony until 1975, was Bishop Ad van Luyn of Rotterdam, who presented a silver-embossed Evangeliarium and consecrated the altar dedicated to Blessed Petrus Donders. Also present was the nuncio to many of the smaller central American and Caribbean countries, Archbishop Thomas Gullickson. He consecrated the Mary altar, while Bishop de Bekker consecrated the main altar.
Photo credit: Lidy Peters (1, 2)