Pastor's Message Archives

Looking back at the weekly messages of Father Paul Counce, first published in The Carpenter, our weekly Parish Bulletin

Hurricane and Repairs

Published: September 10, 2017

My dear Parishioners and Friends,

            Since my last column in The Carpenter we have all been awestruck by Hurricane Harvey’s devastation, mostly in Texas but also here and there in Louisiana. For almost all of us it’s been a situation of (in the words of that famous social philosopher, Yogi Berra) “déjà vu all over again.” Our own experience – in fact, sadly, familiarity – with storms and flooding over the years helps our hearts to go out to those whose lives and property are now so sadly destroyed.

As I mentioned in the midst of the storms on the Cathedral’s Facebook page and Twitter feed, here at the Cathedral donations are already being readily accepted to assist those in harm’s way. Bishop Muench has also asked that all parishes in the Diocese of Baton Rouge take up a special second collection this weekend to aid the storm victims, especially in southeast Texas and in the Diocese of Lake Charles. Since there are no pre-printed envelopes for this, please either mark a check or your own envelope clearly “For Hurricane Relief” or make sure you drop a cash donation into the basket the second time it passes!

And don’t forget to pray for those who were affected. Sometimes just knowing that “we are not alone” in times of tragedy is a great help, and the best companions are the spiritual ones we have within the communion of saints, living and dead, united with the Lord Jesus and His blessed Mother. If you truly care, you not only give a donation to help the victims of the storm, but you make the time to “lift them up to the Lord” in empathy.

Given all of the post-hurricane generosity that’s being called-for, I almost hate to bring up the construction going on already in our church. But I’ve promised to keep you updated on the process of replacing the ceilings in the Cathedral’s two side chapels. Unlike in the rest of the church, those ceilings hid the load-bearing beams and decking just under the roof. We knew the ceilings had been damaged around 30 years ago by water leaks and by termites, and continued to slowly deteriorate: our architects and engineers finally urged us to fix the mostly-cosmetic ceiling. More importantly, we had the opportunity to inspect the structure above them.

The good news is that nothing was found that wasn’t anticipated. The repair work has been designed and is underway. It may take a little bit longer than expected (into October) but soon those side chapels will be back, available for use as devotional areas.

Yet this all comes at a cost. While final figures won’t be in until the last of the scaffolding comes down, this alone should be around $150,000. Some other significant improvements to the Cathedral’s interior (especially upgraded lighting) are planned also in the near future. You know from our public financial reports that we don’t turn that kind of profit around here, so I soon will again have to make a special appeal to you, just as I did two years ago when we waterproofed and painted the Cathedral’s exterior. Please be ready to be generous, just as you always have been, when your Cathedral Parish needs to call on you!


                                                Sincerely in the Lord,

                                                 Fr. Paul

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