Parishioners of St. Clare Catholic Church would be ringing their bells, if they could find them. The bells disappeared, along with the Waveland church, its elementary school and the rectory. |
The reason for celebration centers on a letter the Rev. Martin Gillespie received Thursday. Bishop Thomas Rodi wrote that after "prayerful consideration" he has decided the parish can rebuild the church on the same beachfront site.
"Everyone has been so happy with the letter. The roots of St. Clare go so deeply in Waveland," said Gillespie, the church's parochial administer since July. "For the bishop to decide 'yes, it is important to rebuild' is a testament of faith and hope."
Much of Waveland was destroyed or flooded in Katrina.
On Monday Gillespie will fly to Woonsocket, R.I., to secure a bus donated by a school bus company and drive it to Stamford, Conn., for Operation Load the Bus. The parish there collected school supplies for St. Clare. Where they will build the new school on the 25-acre site is not yet decided, but the rectory and church will be rebuilt on the same foundations.
Waveland Catholics got a mission church at that site in 1882, although St. Clare wasn't established until 1919. The buildings that Katrina claimed were constructed after Hurricane Camille claimed all but a 1957 bell tower. Katrina took that.
- KAT BERGERON