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One year later, historic church finally has a groundbreaking after massive fire

Westphalia rebuild.JPG
Posted at 5:24 PM, Sep 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-10 11:53:23-04

WESTPHALIA, TX — The Church of The Visitation tragically burned down in July of 2019 and one year later they are officially breaking ground on a new church.

They started the morning of September 9th with a short service, lead by Bishop Joe S. Vasquez with the Diocese of Austin. They prayed, blessed the grounds where the new church will be built, and broke ground on a brand new future for the Westphalia community.

"I ask them always to have patience, and the most important thing is to pray," Bishop Vasquez said. "Pray for the success of this new construction of this new church because prayer is essential that's what it's all about."

After the church burned, a building committee was made from parishioners of the church. The chair, Shawna Ranly was baptized at the Church of The Visitation. She's called Westphalia home for many years and she wanted to be apart of its rebuilding process.

"It's just a humbling experience knowing that we need to take what our ancestors built and continue to build on that for our children and the generations to come," Ranly said.

There have been many restless nights for the committee as they worked toward a final draft for the new church. This process has not only touched the lives of the committee but all parishioners and priests, Father Darrell Kostiha.

"It helps you to deepen and grow in your faith when you go through trials like this or some suffering," Father Kostiha said.

Father Kositha grew up and was ordained by the Church of the Visitation as a priest and he's more than happy to be back home with his community.

"It took a lot of work, we would meet every 2 weeks and work on it," Kostiha said.

The new church will resemble the old with some much needed modern upgrades. This 125-year-old church had stained glass windows shipped from Germany and although they cannot have those back, the windows were re-leaded 7 years ago. Therefore, the specs were saved and the glass can be remade once again.

The building committee predicts that it will take about 2 years before parishioners can have service back in their home once again.