Our Lady of Montserrat, Betty’s Bay is Rebuilding!
Two years after a church dedicated to Our Lady in a picturesque Western Cape village was destroyed in a fire, the local faithful are rebuilding it so again serve the Catholic and Anglican communities.
The Catholic community of Our Lady of Montserrat is engaged in rebuilding the church in Betty’s Bay which was burned down in the devastating fire which swept through the town two years ago. Our parish needs to raise funds to ensure that our new church in Betty’s Bay is completed by Christmas 2021. We ask you to kindly refer to the donation details below and assist us in financing the cost of bricks, singularly or in multiples thereof. All cash donations, regardless of size, will be deeply appreciated and contribute to re-establishing our place of worship and healing of our community
Betty’s Bay is a coastal village in the Overberg district of the Western Cape around 80 km from the Cape Town International airport, east towards Hermanus.
On New Year’s Eve 2019 the worst fire in the Overstrand for more than 30 years, was accidentally started and subsequently devastated the village. The fire was initially contained in the UNESCO declared Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, inland of the village, but on the 11th January the wind direction changed and gale force winds drove the fire over the Kogelberg mountains, across the R44 national road and through the village. Terrified residents were evacuated, and the fire destroyed 40 homes and damaged 28 more, leaving two people fatally injured. Approximately 14 000 hectares of Biosphere Reserve was burnt out.
Amongst the devastation was the destruction of the Our Lady of Montserrat Church which served both the Catholic and Anglican communities of Betty’s Bay. All that remained of the church, following the fire, were the outer walls.
Our Lady of Montserrat was originally built in the 1950’s as a home from which a resident, Fr Jack Swan, provided mass for catholic families residing in the area. In the early 1980’s an extension was added to the house to serve as a sanctuary and later a nave was added to complete the church. Fr Swan died in 1993 and the property was bequeathed to the Archdiocese of Cape Town. Increasing numbers of regular parishioners and holiday visitors necessitated the addition of small wing in 2004. In the true spirit of a small village community, the Church was shared with the Anglican faith.
Betty’s Bay has a permanent population of around 1 500 people, comprising largely of elderly people and local business and hospitality industry service providers. Despite the low number of permanent residents, the church is well supported with weekly mass attendance of 40 to 50 people (excluding the Anglican congregation which is of a similar size) of increasing diversity, swelling to well over a 100 during the holiday season influx.
Since the devastating fire, in a unique display of ecumenical cooperation, the Dutch Reformed Church has been the temporary place of worship for the Catholic community. In this relationship, the Catholic congregation has contributed to operating costs of the Dutch Reformed Church and their fundraising initiatives, whilst maintaining historic charitable outreaches to the broader Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond communities for Christmas hampers, clothing, and food for the underprivileged throughout the year.
In the ongoing attempts to rebuild and restore normality to the community, the parishioners have convened a building committee and initiated work on the rebuilding of the church. The original site has been surveyed and the design of a church structure that would house around 84 congregants was agreed on.
The parish now needs to raise funds to ensure that the new church in Betty’s Bay is completed by Christmas 2021. By referring to the donation details below, prospective donors could assist the parish in financing the cost of bricks, singularly or in multiples thereof. All cash donations, regardless of size, will be deeply appreciated and contribute to re-establishing our place of worship and healing of our community. Bricks cost R5 each
In view of lockdown regulations, donors are kindly requested to use on-line banking (EFT) facilities for this purpose.
HELP BUILD OUR NEW CHURCH IN BETTY’S BAY
OUR LADY OF MONTSERRAT BUILDING FUND
Banking details: EFT’s to
Strand Roman Catholic Church Fund
STANDARD BANK, Helderberg
Ref. OLM (+ donor name / cell / email address, optional)
Our Lady of Montserrat church committee
(satellite church of Strand Parish)
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