New Saltillo structure blessed

By Maureen Smith
SALTILLO – Bishop Joseph Kopacz blessed the newly finished St. Thomas Aquinas chapel building on a rainy Sunday evening, June 1. Almost 100 people packed into the small concrete-block structure for the celebration and pot luck dinner following.
St. Thomas Aquinas mission falls under the care of Tupelo St. James Parish. The original mission church was built in 1921. It sits near the only Catholic cemetery in that part of the state.
The community it serves is mostly descended from one large Irish Catholic family, the Barretts. The parish hall still has a family photo history posted on a bulletin board. Bishop Kopacz visited with some of the Barrett descendants during the blessing and dinner.
Marco López, an immigrant from Mexico, presented the parish with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe from Mexico, which the bishop also blessed.
The original mission church building burned in 2009 at the hands of an arsonist.
The community raised their own money and put in their own labor to rebuild a structure that can serve as a chapel or multipurpose building.