Area congregation holds first Sunday Mass after destructive church fire

WESTPHALIA, Texas (KWTX) It was a somber and a rainy day outside on Sunday (8/4) as churchgoers filed into the Westphalia Parish Hall to worship less than one week after the historic Church of the Visitation was destroyed in a fire. But inside the hall there was hope.

“I feel like somebody died and they aren’t going to come back, but we will rebuild,” said Geraldine Hoelscher, who has been a member of the church for 87 years.

Hundreds filled the makeshift sanctuary to give praise and thanks to God. They came together as Westphalia residents have done for 125 years. The small community not letting the fire shake their resolve.
“It's easy when everything is going good for everyone to be happy, but when you have challenges your true character comes out in how you deal with that,” said Jerry Loden, Constable for Precinct 3, and member of the church for 39 years. “So this is obvious with all the people here and the fellowship and the people coming together, we are going to support each other and get through it the best we can.”

For Father Edwin Kagoo, his hope is that this tragedy can bring his congregation closer to God.

“I wish to see this unity and this family together,” said Rev. Kagoo. Not just when tragedies befall us, but every single day to praise god and thank him for his goodness.”