NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - [if gte mso 9]>
[if gte mso 9]>
A Nacogdoches church had a very special blessing tonight after members completed its restoration of the original 1847 Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
Members of Sacred Heart have been working tirelessly to rebuild, and restore the historical church and said they couldn't be happier with its completion.
After 166 years, the original 1847 Sacred Heart Church has finally come home, and in honor of the church's restoration, Bishop Joseph Strickland, the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Tyler, made a very special trip to Nacogdoches on Thursday to bless the church.
"He will bless this and it's something for us to remember for our community and for our diocese," Monsignor James Young said.
Christianity arrived in Nacogdoches in 1715, Young said, and in 1847 plans were made to build the church. The wooden church building was considered to be the tallest structure in Nacogdoches at the time, Young said.
The church has been everywhere from its original location on North Pecan Street, to Fern Lake, and Center. But Young says its location at Appleby Sand Road, where the new Sacred Heart church is located, is where it belongs.
"We have come a long way. At one time, this church in 1847 served 23 counties from this place in Nacogdoches. Missionaries would go as far as Marshall and all the way down to Beaumont. This area was the center," Young said.
In late 2000, the church was moved to its current location and restoration began in 2011. Young says it's important to bless the church because it also brings the community together to witness a pivotal moment in the church's history.
"We're losing a lot of history. Anything that is historical in our community, no matter who owns it or not, I'm for it," Young said.
The blessing is only the beginning for the four-day celebration. On Friday and Saturday, the church will be open for prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel and on Sunday there will be an open house and picnic after Holy Mass.
"It will be open every day for prayer and for people to come in and see. We're asking people to keep sacred silence so that they can pray quietly and contemplate and then we will have something small here," Young said.