It's been 11 long months since Hurricane Ike ravaged the Texas Gulf Coast. While Shelly & I's families had very minimal damage and minor inconveniences due to the storm, there are areas near here still struggling to get back on their feet. That's why when I read this headline, First Post-Ike Mass Celebrated on Bolivar Peninsula, in my Texas Catholic Herald today, it caused tears to well up. This 27 mile long barrier island was a permanent home to approximately 3800 residents. They were the hardest hit by Hurricane Ike in September 2008. To compare the before and after Ike pictures of Bolivar is shocking to say the least.
In addition to recovering from the physical devastation from Ike, the Archdiocese made the difficult decision not to rebuild either of the parish churches on the peninsula, instead, to combine their parishes with those on nearby Galveston island to create one large parish with several satellite churches and mass sites. I can only imagine the effect that news had on the community still living on the peninsula. Instead of watching the two Catholic Churches on the peninsula be rebuilt, they watched as what was left of the sanctuaries were bulldozed. So, when I read they resumed celebrating mass after so many months of pure devastation, I had tears of relief for these strong and resilient people.