Possible tornado destroys Catholic parish hall - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Possible tornado destroys Catholic parish hall

By Al Showers - bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Mother Nature left her mark on the White Cypress Lakes community Friday morning. But no where was the storm's fury easier to see than at St. Matthew Catholic Church.

"It was devastating to say the least," Father Noel Fannon said. "The parish hall took a direct hit. The entire end of the parish hall was demolished completely. It completely peeled off the roof."

 Father Noel Fannon is sure it had to be a tornado that touched down just feet from his house.

"I was watching Mike Reader on WLOX, the power went off, but I happened to have a portable TV. And just about 1:30, the noise was just unreal. It was like a freight train passing by. The rectory shook, so I dived for the bathroom."

Within three to five minutes, Father Fannon said the noise stopped.

"It was a scary feeling. I prayed quite a bit, no doubt about it."

The parish hall sustained extensive damage. The office, kitchen and a classroom were destroyed.

"That steel, as you can see, it just bent it like it was just a pencil. So the force of the tornado was just awesome."

Ashleigh Spiers's bridal shower was supposed to be held at the parish hall Sunday.

"I think we're still going to go through with it, with the shower. They're getting a white tent to put up here," Spier said. "This hall is very special to me. I went to church here, my parents were married here. My mom actually died four weeks ago, so its just been bad lately. But we're still going to do it here because it's a special place to me."

Just up the road the storm gave the Shaw family a scare.

"We proceeded to get our children and got into the hallway," Tad Shaw said. "By that time, things were hitting the house and it was a really scary moment. So we set there and waited it out. No telling how many Hail Mary's we said."

After things calmed down, Shaw surveyed the damage.

"I thank God. It was so close to my house, no doubt in my mind it was divine intervention. Too close for comfort."

Church officials say they hope to have the building back up within a couple of months.

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Three more arrested in Ocean Springs armed robbery case

    Three more arrested in Ocean Springs armed robbery case

    Thursday, July 20 2017 11:38 AM EDT2017-07-20 15:38:46 GMT
    Nicholas Jvante Brothern (Photo source: Ocean Springs Police Department)Nicholas Jvante Brothern (Photo source: Ocean Springs Police Department)

    Police have one person in custody followed an alleged armed robbery in Ocean Springs Wednesday evening.

    More >>

    Ocean Springs police say three more people reportedly linked to a Walmart armed robbery are in custody. One suspect is a 16-year-old. The others are 18-year-old Albert Morgan III and 20-year-old Gary Desean Perkins. Police charged the trio with armed robbery. Investigators say they were in the get away vehicle Wednesday when Nicholas Jvante Brothern reportedly jumped in and took off.

    More >>
  • Summer heat cranks up, practice heat safety

    Summer heat cranks up, practice heat safety

    Thursday, July 20 2017 11:28 AM EDT2017-07-20 15:28:13 GMT
    It's a hot one today. High temperatures will be in the mid 90s with heat index up to around 108 degrees.It's a hot one today. High temperatures will be in the mid 90s with heat index up to around 108 degrees.

    A hot weather pattern is setting up for the rest of the work week. High temperatures will be in the low to mid 90s with heat index up to around 108 degrees.

    More >>

    A hot weather pattern is setting up for the rest of the work week. High temperatures will be in the low to mid 90s with heat index up to around 108 degrees.

    More >>
  • Groups hosting free screening of '13th'

    Groups hosting free screening of '13th'

    Thursday, July 20 2017 11:02 AM EDT2017-07-20 15:02:33 GMT

    According to experts, about 25 percent of the world's prisoners are incarcerated in the United States.

    More >>

    According to experts, about 25 percent of the world's prisoners are incarcerated in the United States.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly