In July, I had the occasion to visit Galveston, Texas a city filled with exquisitely beautiful historic churches. The co-cathedral of St. Mary and Sacred Heart church were my favorites and both are sitting in water this morning after the ravages of Hurricane Ike. The cathedral is a small, gothic building dating from 1847, located in the heart of downtown and it was filling quickly with worshippers for a noon Mass the day I visited. Sacred Heart church is the second church building on that site. The first was destroyed in the great hurricane of 1900. The current structure, consecrated in 1904, is an extravagant compilation of styles, with an onion dome, a flamboyant portico with Spanish influences, and stained glass windows that could have come from Chartres they are so beautiful.
The Red Cross and other relief agencies will, I am sure, help those most affected by the storm but I wonder who will help these churches pay for their clean-up. If you are inclined, you can send a donation to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston at 1700 San Jacinto, Houston, Texas 77001-0907. And, you can offer your prayers for all those afflicted by this horrible storm.
Michael Sean Winters