BY Meripa Gospel Uesele
APIA: MONDAY 26 MAY 2014: The new Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of Mary scheduled to be dedicated this coming Saturday is heavily influenced by Roman architecture and designs.
Father Ricky Bernard which is the carpenter in charge of the construction worked together with other designers who are based overseas in the final design. But a lot of the influence of the final design comes from what he has seen and documented in photographs he took of churches and medieval buildings he has seen in Europe.
The cathedral foundation has been elevated two meters from the foundation to the ground. And the structure is thirty meters high.
The new structure will add to the landscape of the Apia town and the unmistakable dome at the very top.
“The dome structure is a symbol of a Catholic cathedral,” he told Talamua.
Father Ricky comes from a family of carpenters and his late father is well known to have made altars with significant carvings of Samoan and biblical images and references. Father himself has built Catholic churches in the villages he has served in the past and once built a long boat for the youth of a village he served at Malotau on the western side of Upolu island.
“Believing in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is my source of knowledge of building churches and this cathedral and becoming a carpenter,” he said.
Other than trying to beat a shifting deadline, the construction work has had no major problems.
Most of the building materials used were sourced locally but only the stained glass windows were supplied from the United States. “They are very expensive,” he said.
The new cathedral is built on the foundation of the old one that was pulled down in 2011. Below the old foundation is the grave of the late Cardinal Pio Taofinu’u.
Father Ricky Bernard said they are working on a design so that the grave of the country’s first and only Cardinal will blend in with the whole structure and place of worship.
The cathedral will also have a pipe organ donated by a church in the United States and the organ is currently being installed by two specialists from the US with the hope to be used when the work is dedicated this Saturday.