Beaumont Diocese reopens chancery; schools to reopen Oct. 17

By Karen Gilman
Catholic News Service

BEAUMONT, Texas (CNS) -- The Beaumont Diocese announced it was moving back into its chancery offices Oct. 10 and that Catholic schools in Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange were to reopen Oct. 17.

After Hurricane Rita tore its way up the Texas-Louisiana border, administrative staff members of the diocese had been operating out of temporary offices in Houston with space and telephone lines provided by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

The diocese planned to be back to its regular business hours of 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

In announcing the reopening of schools, George Pressey, superintendent of schools for the diocese, also said that students will have a regular day of classes Oct. 17.

The Office of Catholic Schools was reopening in its Beaumont office Oct. 10. Faculty and staff were to return to the schools Oct. 13 and 14 to prepare for the Oct. 17 classes.

"We are still in the process of debris removal and repairs," Pressey said.

The schools were experiencing a multitude of problems including no electricity, water damage and ruptured gas lines.

Pressey added that the schools will need to make up seven missed days. The days the students previously had off and will now need to attend, including some holidays and a couple of in-service days, are Oct. 21, Dec. 19 and 20, Jan. 2, Jan. 16, Feb. 20 and Feb. 21. A new diocesan calendar will be published and distributed to the Catholic schools after the students return.

The Catholic schools are Msgr. Kelly High School, St. Anne, St. Anthony Cathedral and Our Mother of Mercy, Beaumont; St. Catherine of Siena, Port Arthur; and St. Mary, Orange.

In the first few days after Rita hit Sept. 24, an initial review of the schools' exteriors showed that the buildings came through the storm relatively unscathed. One school, Our Mother of Mercy School, received some water damage.

The copper coating on the dome of the recently renovated St. Anthony Cathedral had peeled away, leaving a hole, but otherwise the damage there was minor.

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Copyright (c) 2005 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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