Flooding doesn't wash away parishioners' faith

April 19, 2009 5:23:39 PM PDT
It wasn't a simple house, but a house of God in southeast Houston that flooded in this weekend's storms. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The congregation at St. Luke the Evangelist Church was unwilling to give up their Sunday morning worship, even though their chapel was damaged in the storm.

"We wanted to know, people to know, God hasn't left us. God is here," said Father James Burkart.

The sounds of Sunday mass streamed from the social hall of St. Luke the Evangelist Church Sunday instead of the chapel after a half foot of water flooded the worship area in Saturday's heavy rains.

"The water just kept coming in and coming in and coming in," said Father Burkart. "You get to a point where you just say can't pull this off. I hate that. It just breaks my heart."

Thousands of dollars in newly-purchased audio equipment, as well as the carpet, are drying out.

"We had about 6 to 8 inches on the chapel floor, and almost about 8 inches in the bottom part of the sanctuary," he said.

Father Burkart told us a wedding barely finished before the flooding took over and Saturday evening mass just had to be canceled.

"It just broke my heart to have to cancel last night," said Father Burkart.

But not Sunday. People filled the social hall, ready to worship.

Many parishioners stood outside because there just wasn't enough room in the social hall. They say despite the damage to the church, they have a lot for which to be thankful.

"It's a beautiful day, so we have to give thanks that we're all still around, our houses were fine," said parishioner Jennifer Pascoe. "The church may have been damaged by water, but we're still here, it's part of our faith."

And that faith seems strong.

"The spirit of the parishioners are pretty high," added Vincent Obeyuwene.

The insurance adjusters will visit the church Monday to take a look at the damage, and masses will continue as scheduled at St. Luke the Evangelist. Father Burkart hopes to be back in the chapel next week.

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