Saint Lucia To Erect Shrine In Memory Of Cathedral Attack – St. Lucia Times

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Saint Lucia is to erect a shrine in memory of the deadly New Year’s Eve attack on worshippers in the Cathedral in Castries in the year 2000.

The initiative is part of the Island’s venture into religious tourism.

In what one eyewitness described as ‘like a scene from hell,’ machete-wielding men stormed the Roman Catholic Cathedral, hacking worshippers, dousing others with fuel, and setting them on fire.

A nun and a priest perished as a result of the attack, and several other worshippers sustained injuries.

Two men, Kim John and Francis Phillip, accused of the heinous crime, claimed to be  prophets sent by God to fight corruption in the Catholic Church.

They originally received the death sentence.

But they won an appeal at the Privy Council and subsequently received life sentences.

Tourism Minister Dr. Ernest Hilaire explained that religious tourism was a new area for Saint Lucia.

He disclosed that the recent agreement Saint Lucia signed with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Development Fund provides for financing a project with the Catholic Church to introduce a visitor experience.

In this regard, Hilaire disclosed plans for the shrine.

“A shrine erected with a narrative, a story about what happened and the importance of it to the Catholic faith,” Hilaire stated.

“it will be an opportunity for persons to come and visit the church and in addition to what you would traditionally do in the church, to get an opportunity, for those of you who who would have traveled to other parts of the world and seen some of those experiences, it is quite a rewarding experience from the perspective of spirituality,” the Minister told reporters.

However, he also noted the tourism component of such initiatives in attracting visitors.

“For us it enhances the reputation of Castries as a City and as a destination that visitors who come into this country, there will be more to see,” Hilaire stated.

He declared that much work remained to upgrade the capital, and the planned shrine would contribute to the effort.