PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - After being destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, St. Paul Catholic Church has made a triumphant return to the beachfront in Pass Christian.
While Holy Family Parish Church serves as the main place of worship, a charming little chapel has been built to preserve the memory of St. Paul.
The chapel on Scenic Drive in Pass Christian keeps the history of St. Paul Catholic Church alive.
The small house of worship was constructed as a scaled down replica of the original St. Paul church destroyed by Hurricane Camille in 1969.
The Catholic Diocese rebuilt on this site, and that church was demolished after Katrina roared ashore in 2005.
After Katrina, the decision was made to merge St. Paul with Our Lady of Lourdes Church at Holy Family Parish north of the vulnerable area near the beach.
There was always a determined desire to honor St. Paul's history at this location.
"Our bishop felt it would be nice to have a presence downtown. It turned out very nice. It looks like a little country church. That's what we were hoping for," said Bill Vrazel, Deacon with Holy Family Parish.
While building the chapel, the parish was able to use statues and beautiful stained glass windows salvaged from St. Paul after Katrina. Lights from Lourdes were also used.
It was important to do that, because there was some heated debate over the decision not to rebuild St. Paul and create one church out of two.
"We have a little bit of everything in this chapel. It brings unity and ties our parish into one," Vrazel said.
Mass is held twice a week in the chapel. Weddings, baptisms and funerals have been conducted there.
The small chapel is a very spiritual place.
"It's a beautiful and elegant space. I feel close to God here," said Vrazel.