National Trust of Guyana

St. John, the Baptist, Roman Catholic Church

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Location: Sparendam, East Coast Demerara

Classification: Religious 

Period/ Year Built: Consecrated 1877

Historical Background / Description:

St. John, the Baptist, Roman Catholic Church is located in the community of Sparendam, on the East Coast of Demerara. Prior to the establishment of the church, in the 1860s, the Catholic community in the villages Sparendam and Plaisance (which was established by former slaves) operated out of a temporary mission station. Mission stations were found in five other communities along the East Coast. 
In 1870, the first Catholic school chapel was built in the village and by 1876, the cornerstone of the church was laid by Bishop James Etheridge. In 1877, the building was completed and dedicated to St. John, the Baptist by Father Aloysius Casati. The timber structure over the years has managed to retain some key features completed in the late 1800s such as the arch and rose windows. The bell tower remains in its original position, but have undergone a number of changes. Circa 1879, St. John, the Baptist Ursuline Convent on Profit Ben Drive, Sparendam, was opened.