Hope in the Gulf: Mississippi Bishop offers Mass in destroyed church

.- More than two months after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita rocked the U.S. Gulf Coast, faithful at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Biloxi, Mississippi are starting to put their lives back together.

On Sunday, parishioners gathered in their church--which was gutted in the hurricanes--to take part in an emotional Mass celebrated by Biloxi Bishop Thomas J. Rodi.

Faithful sat on folding chairs in the ruined church and listened to the Bishop, along with their pastor, Fr. John Kelly, who offered a message of hope in the midst of their suffering.

According to Mississippi’s Sun-Herald newspaper, the Bishop told the congregation that, "This is a dark time for all of us…But as we come together, still coping, the Lord stands with us."

The church, built in 1963, is among scores of others in the area which are slowly coming back to life as residents return home and pool resources.

On October 2nd, New Orleans’ Archbishop Alfred Hughes celebrated Mass in the city’s historic St. Louis Cathedral--one of the first major acts of liturgical life returning to the stricken area.

Following Sunday’s Mass, Bishop Lodi told the Sun-Herald: 5"I've never seen so many smiling faces inside a ruined church.”

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