Biloxi church unveils $3 million recovery plan

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - After more than three years of setbacks and disappointments, a Biloxi church says it's excited to finally be moving forward. Millions of dollars in repairs will begin on Monday on the hurricane damaged St. Michael's Catholic church. On Sunday, the church held a special celebration mass.

Parishioners at St. Michael's Catholic church have spent the past few years rebuilding their lives.

"You can get us down, but you can't keep us down," Joy Mitchell, a member for 18 years.

Since Hurricane Katrina, very little has been done to repair their church; however, on Sunday, St. Michael's unveiled a three million dollar restoration plan.

"To actually see it on paper, in black and white, and know that the workers will be here in the morning is awesome," said Mitchell.

"We're excited, like we're expecting a new daughter-in-law or a new child in the family," said Patsy Senseny. "We're excited that way, like we're going to get something special."

Church members say creating the designs was a long and difficult process. They tried to protect the church's rich architectural history and protect it from future storm damage.

Frank Bailey is on the parish council.

"To protect ourselves as much as possible. Some of the things that we've done as with the glass is that the bottom half is going to be constructed so that it can be rolled up if we do have another storm," Bailey said.

People say no matter what they couldn't give up on St. Michael's knowing the struggles and sacrifices of past generations.

"It's called the church of the fishermen, so they have been through struggles for decades and decades," Father Gregory Barras said. "So this was just one more reality of a task to continue to grow through and grow together and keep naming our belief in God. "

Church officials say the repairs are scheduled to wrap up in the next 12 to 15 months.