Local Catholic Church looks forward from the rubble

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 9:38 PM EDT
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HARRISVILLE, W.Va. (WTAP) - Christ our Hope - a Catholic Church in Harrisville - burned down this weekend.

WTAP stopped by the scene to take a look at the damage.

What used to be a social hall, where the congregation would gather after Sunday mass, is now a room burnt black, debris cluttering the floors, pieces of the ceiling caved in.

The church went up in flames early Saturday morning, burning through the attic’s roof then consuming the church. It was a total loss.

The priest, Shinto Mathew, described the scene as ‘beyond his imagination.’

“It was terrible. The flames are going up...we can’t see anything and, even up to that shop, there was fog and everything was like darkness all over…,” he said.

And now, with the church a total loss, those affiliated with the congregation are salvaging what is left.

Angie Moretto, who is affiliated with the church, said, “We have some records, of course, that are vital records to our church and we were surprised to find some of the file cabinets not destroyed with the fire or the water so we’re trying to come back to get whatever records we could get.”

The future for this congregation is uncertain. For now, however, the congregation will worship at Saint Joseph’s Chapel in Pennsboro. Other plans will be discussed in an upcoming meeting.

According to Mathew, there’s still hope in the rubble.

“We, the faithful, even though it is a total loss and losing a church, as you all know, is heartbreaking news for all our parishioners and therefore we don’t lose hope but we trust in our lord and we look forward to what can be done in the future.”

Amidst all this destruction, this congregation remains defined by its faith and its hope.

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