Catholic Church Plans to Buy Property in Coral Bay

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Pictured above: Father Anthony Abraham, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church. Photo by Amy Roberts.

The Catholic Church has moved one step closer to obtaining a property on which to build a church in Coral Bay.

Father Anthony Abraham, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, said the church has reached an agreement with Sheldon Marsh to purchase nearly two acres of land in Coral Bay located “just past La La Land,” according to the priest.

Although the name for the new church has been selected— St. Therese’s—construction of the building is still a long way off.  That’s partly because the property selected, Parcel 7-8 and a portion of Parcel 7-9, is part of the Egbert Marsh Trust.

The Egbert March Trust, which owns 173 acres in the Coral Bay area, has made headlines in the last several months because of a conflict between Sheldon Marsh, the trustee, and the Virgin Islands Division of Real Property Tax.

According to articles in the Daily News, Sheldon Marsh has been trying to negotiate with the Property Tax Division to sell part of the trust property in order to free up funds to pay back property taxes owed over a long period of time.  Although discussion have be ongoing since 2013, Sheldon Marsh and the government have been unable to agree on a settlement.

Father Anthony said he was looking forward to the completion of the sale because “It’s our opportunity to minister to the people in Coral Bay.”

For the past couple of years, the Church has been conducting mass at 12:30 pm on Sundays at the John’s Folly Learning Institute at the southeastern tip of St. John.

Father Anthony said St. Therese is the name of a saint who is very special to Bishop Elliott Thomas, who is retired and living on St. Thomas.