‘My spirit needed it’: Mandeville church bringing comfort to members after Hurricane Ida

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MANDEVILLE, La. (WKRG) — Days after flooding, a church in Louisana is having Mass again, this time with the lights on.

Our Lady of the Lake Roman Catholic Church in Mandeville never closed their doors after Hurricane Ida, but Sunday’s mass was the first service with their electricity back — a week after their doorsteps were covered in floodwaters.

Father Doug Busch says bringing people back into the church during a time when the community needs it most is their job.

“People have to know there is some stability and some strength, particularly in their faith,” Father Doug said. “It’s our responsibility in the church to bring back some peace and comfort in Christ.”

Members of the church are sharing that same mindset, with John Schembre saying, “It’s almost better than water and food for me — My spirit needed it.”

Limbs and downed trees still lined the streets in the city, but these members weren’t going to let that stop them from going to Mass.

Mandeville was not one of the harder-hit areas, but they still have recovery efforts that are needed. Father Doug says they plan to keep the church open now 24/7, so it can act as a place of comfort for the community as they get through this time.

“It isn’t about stuff. People have lost stuff here, but they know they can recover that, people pulling together people acting as family members means everything,” Father Doug said.

Above all, Father Doug is encouraging people to keep their faith in these trying times.

“People’s faith is the rock of their lives, they have to know that God is always literally working for the good, even in the most horrific situations like COVID and this hurricane,” Father Doug said.

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