Fourteen months after heavy rains destroyed a worship center in Naugatuck, Saint Francis Church is ready to open its doors again.
Donahue Hall, church room used as a cafeteria for schoolchildren, was decimated by a rainstorm last summer.
"When I watched the water coming up, my heart was beating so hard," said Father John Kuzhikottayil, who remembers seeing the muddy, flooded-out floor.
One year later, the church has been rebuilt and is almost ready to serve the community as a center for special events.
“It’s a new day for this church,” said congregation member Chester Cornacchia. “We are going to see this be a nucleus to community for our town.”
Archbishop Henry Mansell blessed the new hall in a special service.
The new hall was built with money raised by the parish. A new drainage system is in place, but the church needs more work, and it won’t be covered by insurance.
“We need to make some conference rooms inside, we need to have a projector, the parking lot paved,” said Kuzhikottayil.
In the meantime, community members are celebrating the brand new hall, which should be fully operational by the end of the month.