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The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Diamond in the ROUGH

Hidden away in the Central Bahamas on the island of Long Island is what is supposedly the oldest Church in the Bahamas. St. Mary's Church was built in the 17th Century by the Spaniards. The Church building was Catholic at the time. When the Spaniards left Long Island the building and grounds were then taken over by our Anglican brothers and sisters.

Today the Church situated in The Bight settlement is a tourist attraction for visitors. As with any historic ruins, it costs money to upkeep the surrounding area, so the Catholic and Anglican community of Long Island came together to ensure that the building is maintained.


As I toured the Church while visiting recently I could not help but notice that the original cross at the top of the Church is still standing upright. In addition, the Altar and the room used as the sacristy is a must to see with the cut out hole between the two areas. As a child growing up and visiting Long Island every summer, it never dawned on me to ever take notice and interests of such amazing history.

The island of Long Island currently has six active Churches on the island; Sts. Peter and Paul in Clarence Town, Our Lady of Mt Carmel in Hamilton's, Immaculate Conception in Mortimer's settlement, Holy Trinity in Tates settlement,  Assumption B.V.M. in Dunmore settlement, and St. Pius X in The Bight settlement Long Island. As a small community of Catholic worshipers the parishioners will have Mass rotated at the various Churches as there was only one Priest and Deacon on the island until recently.

Fr. Pat Fanning has since been recalled back to the "Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary" in Fairhaven Massachusetts. Fr. Pat, as he was affectionately known served the community of the Bahamas from 2000 to 2011. He will surely be missed by the members of the local community.

If ever you are visiting Long Island please do not forget to stop by the various Parishes on the island, especially those that have stood the test of time.

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