Solomons parish gets first permanent church building

A parish in the Solomon Islands is to get its first permanent church building thanks to the generosity of British Catholics.

Since its foundation in 1950, St Mark’s parish in the village of Fote, on Malaita has worshipped in a hut made of wood and palm leaves.

But in a hand-written appeal to the charity SPICMA (Special Projects in Catholic Missionary Areas), the parish priest Fr Albert Kalu, sought help for a major upgrade – because of global warming.

The island has “started to experience the effects of climate change,” he wrote. “Cyclones, winds and torrential rains are now a common phenomenon.”

Also, the number of Catholics has risen over the years from 500 to 1,800.

Parishioners had begun to build a new church, he wrote, (as featured above) but ran out of money after the roof and corner posts were put up. Work “has come to a standstill due to families having other financial commitments.”

Fr Kalu’s appeal came as a surprise to SPICMA. “A handwritten letter through the post is something we haven’t seen in a long time and speaks to the remote nature of the place,” said Cathy Forman, SPICMA’s voluntary administrator.

“Also, we have no idea how Fr Kalu heard of us and got our address.”

However, SPICMA agreed to donate £8,250 towards the cost of the project. The charity, which relies entirely on volunteers, with no paid staff, also got in touch with the bishop of Auki diocese, Dominican Chris Cardone – recently appointed archbishop of Honiara, the capital.

“We were notified that the funds have arrived safely,” said Ms Forman.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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