LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is a symbol of hope for many across Southwest Louisiana, and after the storm, that hope is needed more than ever.
From the stained-glass windows to the walls, everything in the cathedral looks almost exactly like it did before Hurricane Laura.
“There’s only water intrusion through the doors, the cracks of the doors, but I checked the ceiling, as well as the windows. All the windows were intact, there’s no water damage to the ceilings or walls.”
Damage only to the roof. Where some tiles are now missing. Even so, Father Rommel Tolentino says they were quick to offer services.
“Two days after the storm, it was a Saturday. We offered our 4 p.m. usual vigil mass for Saturday and we had eight people attend. Then we offered our three morning masses on Sunday, as well as our evening mass and we had a total of 135.”
He says the damage would’ve been much worse if it weren’t for the restoration that was completed a year ago.
“As part of the restoration, they put protective glass outside to protect the windows, but they said the protected glass could withstand a category 5 hurricane. It really tested it for this one, because we had a category 4.”
A blessing, and now, a ray of hope that can continue for the faithful as they rebuild their lives.
“We had very minimal damage, so we were able to offer the sacraments, confession and mass to the people. Even from other parishes, because their churches were damaged. So, the mother church is here to welcome them, and it’s actually a sign of hope for many people.”
Father Tolentino says they don’t know when the roof will be repaired, but they are offering services as usual.