Catholic Extension to help Catholics to rebuild

Published 2:07 pm Monday, July 9, 2018

Special to The News

Tropical Storm Harvey hit Southeast Texas hard — and Chicago-based Catholic Extension is coming to help.

Catholic Extension will be in Port Arthur on Tuesday to announce to the community its commitment of $668,000 to help with continuing restoration after Harvey devastated Southeast Texas in August 2017.

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The presentation to Most Rev. Curtis Guillory, SVD, bishop of Beaumont, will be at 2:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 4600 Procter St., Port Arthur.

In an issued statement Monday, a diocesan spokeswoman said many Southeast Texans have not only been without their homes but have also been without their church homes since the flood.

These funds will help with four projects:

  • The director’s residence at Holy Family Retreat Center, Beaumont.
  • The education building at St. Joseph in Port Arthur.
  • The Christopher Education Building at St. Mary, Fannett.
  • The ministry of the religious sisters in the Western Vicariate.

Holy Family Retreat Center in north Beaumont received up to 8 feet of water in all its buildings. Days passed before the floodwaters receded and the property could be accessed. Only one building has been restored – the caretaker’s residence. The caretaker has been living in a small trailer on the property because he needs to be able to maintain the property.

All the buildings at St. Joseph received damage from the flood. Only one building has been restored — the parish hall where the community is now celebrating Mass. These funds will be going toward the restoration of the education building.

Work is continuing on the church and rectory. The neighborhood around St. Joseph received a lot of damage from the flood. Many of the parishioners at St. Joseph had flood damage and some are still out of their homes.

All the buildings at St. Mary received damage from the floodwaters. The parish hall has been restored so that Mass can be celebrated at the parish. Work is continuing on the other buildings.

Much of the Fannett area, a rural community, was underwater during the storm. Many of the parishioners of St. Mary had flooded homes.

A group of religious sisters work in the western vicariate of the Diocese of Beaumont. These sisters minister to a largely Hispanic and immigrant community. Many who live in these communities did not have flood insurance to help with repairs.

Catholic Extension, which has built more than 12,000 U.S. churches and church facilities since its founding in 1905, is a national fund-raising organization committed to supporting and strengthening poor mission dioceses across the United States. For more information on Catholic Extension, please visit

Catholic Extension will also be at St. Mary, 9894 Gilbert Road, Fannett, at 4:30 p.m. and at Holy Family Retreat Center, 9920 N. Major Drive, Beaumont, at 6 p.m.