Sunday, August 20, 2017

Renovations underway at St Mary’s Cathedral

Major renovations got underway earlier this month at Saint Mary’s Cathedral in downtown Yangon, under the guidance of Archbishop Charles Bo of the Yangon Archdiocese.

A spokesperson from the cathedral’s Parish Pastoral Council told The Myanmar Times that renovations would be carried out gradually, with the aim of completing work before the church’s 100-year anniversary is celebrated on December 8, 2011.

“We’ve been preparing for renovations for the past two years, and early this month we started installing new stained glass windows. Our aim is to have all the windows in place by next May,” he said.

“After that, renovation work will continue by painting the cathedral.”

The spokesperson said a total of 86 stained glass windows – designed and crafted by Thai artists – will be installed. The windows will include images of the 12 apostles, 10 saints and French missionary bishops, as well as depictions of the life of Jesus Christ.

St Mary’s Cathedral – located at the corner of Bo Aung Kyaw and Bogyoke Aung San roads in downtown Yangon – is the biggest Catholic church in Myanmar. It is also a popular sightseeing spot for foreign tourists visiting Yangon.

The cathedral suffered minor damage from the Yangon earthquake of May 5, 1930, and from fighting during the Japanese invasion of 1941-1942. However, the Allied bombing of Yangon on December 14, 1944, caused severe damage to the building, requiring the replacement of the original stained glass by locally made windows.

The windows were again destroyed on May 2, 2008 by Cyclone Nargis, and the openings left by the broken glass were covered by tarpaulins until this month when renovations started.

The spokesperson from the Parish Pastoral Council said donors were welcome to contribute funds to support the ongoing renovation work.