Biloxi church says Katrina showed us our blessings

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Members of a Biloxi church said Hurricane Katrina showed them not to take their blessings for granted. On Sunday, St. Michael's Catholic Church marked the sixth anniversary of Katrina with a special prayer service. They sang. They prayed. They shared stories about what happened to Mississippi Gulf Coast August 29, 2005.

Michael Kovacevich stayed in his house during Katrina.

"We have 23 people, six dogs and a cat upstairs at my house which is two bedrooms and a foyer," he told the congregation. "Water is 11 inches from coming on my second floor. I'm thinking at this point there is no sense in calling 911 so we called God," Michael Kovacevich said.

By coming together in God's house, the congregation at St. Michael's Catholic Church is dealing with pain of what's been lost.

"It definitely took me back," said Pete Broussard, church member. "It made me appreciate what we did and what we have today. Also to honor the ones we have lost. I also lost an uncle, Henry Westovich in the storm so in his honor I was here."

The Biloxi church itself is a Katrina survival story. It took years before members could enjoy a fully restored building.

Kenneth Powell, another church member, said,"You just have to hold on to your faith. For each of us to come together in this place with no windows, most of this beautiful stain glass was gone. We had it board up with plywood, sweating in Summer, freezing in the Winter time. Just to pull together and hold on the faith of each other."

During the service the congregation offered up prayers for those in Hurricane Irene's path.

Father Greg Barras said, "That's the gift of growing stronger through adversity that we are more sensitive and more caring when others are hurting. We can reach out either in prayer or in presence or in support somehow to know that they are experiencing what we have already gone through."

"It could be bad for them because they're not really used to it," said Powell. "Even though the waters aren't as high and the winds aren't as strong. But you have to have faith in each other, as well as, faith in God."

St. Michael's Catholic Church members said the service was also to honor the strength of those living on the Gulf Coast.

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