Benque Communion class with Pallottines & Fr. Versavel, c. 1920
Then in 1913, at the persuasion of Jesuit Fr. Versavel, the Pallottine sisters came from Germany and served first in Benque. Mother (Saint) Katharine Drexel subsidized their convent from her inheritance.:174 On the night of 16 November 1937 a fire destroyed the Church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and Fr. Kuenzel undertook to build the new church.:268 In 1950, Kuenzel persuaded the Town Board to name the new football field after Corporal Marchalleck through whose “self-sacrificing interest and persevering efforts [the] football campus came as if by magic out of what was hitherto useless tropical bush.”.:244 St. Joseph Convent on the street of that name was completed in 1952. On 18 January 1961 Fr. Sontag, Jesuit pastor in Benque, was found murdered at his desk in the rectory, with a machete the likely weapon. The perpetrator and motive remain a mystery.:255 In 1963 a Catholic primary school building of reinforced concrete was built.:259 The next year the Jesuits handed the parish over to the diocesan clergy, with Fr. Herbert Panton its first native pastor. The Catholic community SOLT increased its presence in Belize from the early 1990s, beginning in Benque. Deacon Cal Cathers of SOLT founded BRC printing in Benque to improve the quality of elementary school textbooks in Belize.:268 Demographics Benque has long been the place where tourists and merchants cross to Melchor and purchase Maya textiles. Now Guatemalan youth cross the border each day to receive a secondary education in English. During the first years of the 21st century Benque experienced a rapid boom in population. It offers primary and secondary education, supermarkets, an annual fiesta, and is home to a Belize Premier Football League team. In 2010 its population, mostly of Maya or Mestizo descent, was 5,824 (2,906 males and 2,918 females); households numbered 1,415 with average size 4.1. The ancient Maya ruins of Xunantunich are nearby. Film director Caleb Botton used the town as the backdrop for 7 Days in Carmel which featured Benque's Holy Week processions. As of May 2015, the mayor is Heraldo "Rancha" Ramcharan Jr. of the United Democratic Party, which also controls the town council. References
^ "Belize Population and Housing Census 2010" (PDF). Statistical Institute of Belize. 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 January 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2016. ^ "Mid-Year Population Estimates by Area and Sex 2008 - 2015". Statistical Institute of Belize. Retrieved 14 May 2016. [permanent dead link] ^ http://www.citypopulation.de/Belize.html ^ a b c d e f g h Woods, Charles M. Sr.; et al. (2015). Years of Grace: The History of Roman Catholic Evangelization in Belize: 1524-2014. Belize City: Roman Catholic Diocese of Belize City-Belmopan. ^ Osborne, F.J. (1988). British Honduras. History of the Catholic Church in Jamaica, 274-509. Chicago: Loyola University, 286. ^ "The Bishop's Visit to The Cayo and Benque Viejo". The Angelus: 25. February 1894. ^ " MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS OFFICIAL RESULTS 4th MARCH 2015[permanent dead link], Belize Elections and Boundaries Commission. (accessed 16 March 2015)
Coordinates: 17°04′N 89°08′W / 17.067°N 89.133°W / 17.