Bishop Curtis Guillory, S.V.D., began today the long, arduous process of surveying the damage to diocesan property caused by Imelda rains and flooding.
“This saddens me greatly, but I know God will give us the strength to recover. My heart breaks for all those whose homes have been flooded – many for the second time in two years,” he said.
Bishop Guillory will celebrate a special Mass for all affected by the flooding this Sunday, Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. at St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica. “Southeast Texans are a resilient and deeply spiritual people. We will certainly grieve this together but we will also recover together through prayer and support of each other.”
Hundreds across Southeast Texas were left homeless by the storm. So far, the diocese has assessed that nine parishes and two schools were affected. St. Mary, Fannett, may have taken the hardest hit with every building including the church and rectory receiving at least three feet of water. Msgr. Kelly Catholic High School in Beaumont and St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School in Port Arthur also were damaged. These three locations were greatly affected by Hurricane Harvey floodwaters as well.
Bishop Guillory joined nearly 100 students and parents at Kelly for clean-up efforts Friday. “I am not at all surprised that students were here cleaning up. They are just a few of the many who are already reaching out to their neighbors. “
Bishop Guillory plans to spend the weekend visiting other locations. Other parishes affected by the storm include Our Lady of Lourdes in Vidor, Our Lady of the Assumption and Cristo Rey in Beaumont, Sacred Heart and St. James in Port Arthur, St. Maurice in Mauriceville, and St. Joseph the Worker in Dayton.
“The extent of damage varied from location to location, and we are not finished assessing until final reports are received from parishes,” said Sabrina Vrooman, CFO for the diocese.
As of Friday, the only parish where Mass cannot not be celebrated in the church this weekend is St. Mary, Fannett. Father Jim McClintock will be celebrating Mass at the mission St. Martin de Porres in Cheek.