(ANS – Granada) – On 14 April the Salesian community and the parishioners in Granada celebrated the 90th anniversary of the “Mary Help of Christians Chapel” The main event was a Mass at which the Bishop of the diocese Mons Jorge Solorzano presided with Fr Enrique Obando, Rector of the Salesian house and other Salesian and diocesan priests concelebrating. On this occasion the altar restructured in 2005 was consecrated.
The Salesian Brother Ramón Alonso gave a short account of the arrival of the Salesians recalling that “the building of the “Mary Help of Christians Chapel” began in 1921, the centenary year of Independence and ended on 12 April 1922, according to the plans of Fr José Misieri, with the idea in the way of celebrating the tenth anniversary of the arrival of the Salesians in Nicaragua.”
During the Mass Blessed Sr Maria Romero FMA, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians of whom all the citizens of Granada are very proud was also remembered Among those present were representatives of all the Salesian Family, co-workers and friends of the community. In addition, as a sign of gratitude, a wreath of flowers was placed on the tomb of Mrs Elena Arellano, a great collaborator of Fr Misieri.
“Mary Help of Christians Chapel” built in gothic style and the only example in Nicaragua, was closed for some time as a result of the damage caused by the earthquake at Masaya between 6 and 7 July 2000. Then in 2004, the Salesian Province of Central America appointed a committee led by Fr Ricardo Chinchilla to see to the project for the rebuilding of the Chapel. Fr Rafael Umana, the historian José Joaquín Cuadra, the then President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Nicaragua, René González, and a newly graduated young Chilean, Guillermo Arguello, began the work.
Thanks to the financial assistance of those who were close to the Salesians the Chapel was rebuilt. Nowadays the people who used to attend the Chapel before the earthquake, according to Fr Obando, are not even aware that the foundations and the walls have been replaced with new ones in cement, since all the details of the original have been retained. The altar which was consecrated during the Mass was rebuilt in 2005.
“The historical memory serves not only to remember those who have gone before us and sleep in peace but also to reveal how much effort and what struggles are to be found in the works of our own days. Preserving them is meritorious and a commitment since they are a peoples’ history,” Bishop Solorzano said.
The presence of the Salesians in Nicaragua is represented by the Don Bosco Institute in Masaya, the Don Bosco Institute and the “Mary Help of Christians Chapel” in Granada and the Don Bosco Youth Centre in Managua.