Devastation in Rockport weighs heavy on Bishop Kihneman

Devastation in Rockport weighs heavy on Bishop Kihneman

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - While Texas is reeling from Harvey, Bishop Louis Kihneman is feeling the pain in a personal way.

Before becoming the Bishop of the Biloxi Catholic Diocese, he was a priest in one of the hardest hit areas in Texas. While worries about those affected, he believes they will recover from Harvey just as the Coast has after Katrina.

"We will offer this mass for the victims of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey and continue to pray for them," Kihneman said.

Kihneman last served as a priest at Sacred Heart in Rockport, Tx. which was devastated.

"I know all the people – everybody," said the bishop. "It's hard to watch. You know, I think everybody here that's experienced Katrina - we just had the anniversary - knows what it's like to have a massive storm come through and wipe you out."

Most of the buildings in the city have been destroyed or damaged, but it could have been worse.

"Most everybody heeded the mandatory evacuation order, which was a gift because there would have been much higher loss of life had they not left," Kihneman said. "It's a beautiful place for boating, fishing, swimming. It's really lovely. But with this kind of destruction, it's going to be a long time before they're able to come back. But I believe they will."

Kihneman was worried even before it was known Rockport would be hit.

"I start praying as soon as something goes in the Gulf," he said. "Because that means somebody along the Gulf Coast is going to get it."

Kihneman said the desire to help is growing throughout the diocese. The Biloxi Diocese will join all dioceses throughout the country holding collection drive masses on Sept. 9 and 10.

Donations for the collections can be made online, or sent directly to the Diocese of Biloxi for Hurricane Harvey Relief, 1790 Popp's Ferry Road, Biloxi, MS 39532.

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