CHURCH AND CULTURE IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
THE REPORT DRAWN UP ABOUT ARUBA IN 1816, A SUMMARY OF which was given in Chapter V, contained the statement that "though everybody is a Christian, there are no teachers for continued religious education, nor are there school-teachers to take care of the education of the young."
The wording of the statement is Protestant, but no Protestant clergyman had as yet arrived here in 1816. Roman Catholic priests only came here on their way through and according to Menkman some of the Indians were not even baptized in that year, a position for which no proof can be adduced, but which is probably correct in view of the improvised nature of mission-work on our island.
The Alto Vista Rosary Chapel was presumably closed by Father Pirovano in the year with which this chapter, and the two previous ones, commences. As it was, its place had already been taken more or less by St. Anna's at Noord.
For a better understanding of church history during this period, however, we must go back a few years.
After 1809 Father Schinck returns no more to Aruba. It is not before 1813 that another priest arrives. This was the new mission prefect Father Johannes Josephus Pirovano O.F.M., whom we already met on Aruba in 1791. On Father Pirovano's arrival in 1813 it appears that the people have built a little church in the new as yet nameless dwelling- centre arising below the administrative hill of Pontón. Father Pirovano, a Franciscan, was accompanied by a certain Father Nicolas Lopez, who on 4th May 1813 baptizes a little church on the bay. In the chronicles of the Church Archives he notes, "en esta iglesia a la porto del Sud dedicada a ntro Seráfico P.S. Francisco de Assisi bautize." Very likely, therefore, Lopez was also a Franciscan, or a Capuchin. "Ntro padre" is a wording typical of the regular clergy.