Hugs to the people in Westphalia, and their loss of the beautiful Church of the Visitation yesterday.
There are so many beautiful churches in Hill Country, especially the painted-ceiling ones built by the German, Czech, and Polish Catholics… I’m sorry to lose one.
WESTPHALIA — Hope Hoelscher held a handful of charred pages from a church hymnal Monday as she watched firefighters put out hot spots where a 125-year-old community landmark burned that morning.
Crews from several volunteer fire departments responded to the Church of the Visitation, 144 County Road 3000 in Falls County, shortly before 8 a.m. when smoke was seen coming from the building’s south tower.
“I just grabbed whatever I could salvage,” Hoelscher, 19, said. “Westphalia is a tiny, tiny town, and you can see, or could see, the church towers from our pasture. Now, they are gone.”
Bishop Joe S. Vásquez and Father James Misko of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin traveled to Westphalia, about 35 miles south of Waco, and saw the destruction along with parishioners.
“My heart was broken the moment I heard about it,” Vásquez said. “I had spoken to Father Edwin Kagoo, the pastor here, and he told me what was happening. By the time he reached me, there was very little left and I immediately knew I had to come out here and be with the people.”