Nacogdoches church places steeple on historic church

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - It's a celebration for a restored 164 year old church and the glory for God.

"It's been moved to place to place and now we have it back," said Loraine Coussons. The church was moved to Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Nacogdoches in 2000.

On this day it was now ready and waiting for a new steeple and cross. Vincent Wargo is the carpenter leading the impressive replication project.

"And everything is tied together," said Wargo to crane operators. He and fellow carpenters built the replicated steeple. The craftsmanship is a work of love. He takes a snag in lifting the steeple in stride.

"We just have to work into it and solve the problem," Wargo says calmly, while others wrenched their hands in nervousness.

The wait begins for a bigger crane. It's enough time for onlookers to reflect on the church's history. For 90 years the place for worship was downtown Nacogdoches.

"Where the bank parking lot is, Commercial Bank," shared Coussons, a church member of 53 years. "And then it moved to Fern Lake, which is between here and Lufkin and then it was moved to Center, Texas."

Monsignor James Young got involved when the church was no longer being used.

"We lent it out and I brought it back," said Young, a self confessed avid history nut.

The bishop requested the Philippino community lead fundraising efforts for restoration.

"And so far, we're doing good. We have not borrowed money," said Emma Areyata, who leads the effort.

Finally the bigger truck and crane arrives. Workers line each side of the steeple. Their brute strength raises the 25 foot steeple just high enough to secure the straps. The steeple tilts to the right.

"Things are nervous when you're trying to get something like this up," said Wargo.

Then the huge flags that fly outside Sacred Heart catch a stiff wind. "Got to maneuver around the wind," said Wargo.

Anticipation grows along with Vincent's responsibility.

"It looks like it's going pretty good, huh?, asked Wargo of the crane operators. "It's your call," the foreman frankly replies.

It's now a time for prayer and lots of "faith," says one member.

The call was made. Go for it. The sound of the heavy machinery echos through the parking lot. Members watch silently from their lawn chairs. The smell of cooking fajitas fill the air, in anticipation of a celebration lunch.

"Hope it fits," said an elderly member as the steeple's frame meets up with the frame on the church roof. It did.

Cheering and applauds come from the elated crowd. One lady breaks out into song exclaiming, "Hallelujah".

"I was walking and pacing. They kept saying, ' sit down.' I said, 'I can't,' " said Msgr. Young.

"A big relief off my shoulder," shared Wargo. Now he can spend time trimming out the steeple and applying a final coat of paint.

"We reach up to heaven and praise god," reminds Young to followers.

Now the journey of faith continues. Sacred Heart Catholic Church considers the little white church as a gift to the community. By the end of the year it will be available for weddings and special events.

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