PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - After surviving hurricanes and the wear and tear of several decades, a coast Catholic shrine is in need of repairs. Holy Family Parish is now looking to the community for help restoring the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Father Mike Austin calls it a community landmark, and a piece of Gulf Coast history.
"It's got a lot of religious values and historical meaning and value, too. Because in the pyramid foundation is actual stone and rock from the Hill of Tepeyac in Mexico, where the apparition took place in 1530," said Father Austin.
Overlooking Highway 90, the statue has witnessed some terrifying times of catastrophe on the coast.
"It was damaged by many tropical storms that came through the area over the years. Hurricane Katrina and the flying debris really knocked some holes in it and it's causing the under structure to rust," said Father Austin.
This particular statue of our Lady of Guadalupe was placed in Pass Christian back in July 1977, nearly 40 years ago. Father Michael Austin of Holy Family Parish is hoping that someone can help give her a face lift.
"We are hoping and looking for an artist in the community, or someone who is familiar with Harry Reeks' work, who could possibly do some restoration for us and get her back restored for the 40th anniversary in July," said Father Austin.
The statue is the only shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Southeast of the US. Anyone interested in helping restore the statue may call Father Mike Austin at (228) 452-4686.