For Parishioners of Church Destroyed in Puerto Rico Earthquake, Faith Remains Unshaken

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Currents News Staff

A 6.4 earthquake knocked down Immaculate Conception Church in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico on Jan. 6. 

On Thursday, church members spent the day recovering religious items used during services.

Father Melvin Diaz Aponte walked through the ruins of his parish — a classroom with its wall crumbling to the ground.

“For me, what hurts more is knowing people are in pain because of what this church means to them,” he said. 

“My heart dropped to my feet because I never imagined something like this would happen,” said parishioner Julia Irrizarry, who attends Mass once a week and needed to see the destruction for herself. “it was surprising to look at the extent of the damage and hurt all of us.”

A 6.4 earthquake knocked down Immaculate Conception Church in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico on Jan. 6.  

On Thursday, church members spent the day recovering religious items used during services.

Father Melvin Diaz Aponte walked through the ruins of his parish — a classroom with its wall crumbling to the ground.

“For me, what hurts more is knowing people are in pain because of what this church means to them,” he said. 

Since 1841, it has been the space where Catholics have celebrated their faith, but now parishioners don’t know if they’ll be able to gather in their church again. 

They’re aiming to rebuild their church in the same spot, but for now they’ve grabbed whatever they could.

As the community regroups, they will be holding their services out on a blocked off street for the next couple of weeks, until they can move into a temporary space. 

No matter where they have to pray, they know that their faith will get them through.