HELOTES, Texas – Although many churches will sit in the dark Sunday morning due to the coronavirus pandemic, one church in Helotes is set to reopen for the first time in three years.
The first building that housed Calvary New Life Church burned down March 14, 2017.
Both the congregation and members of a CrossFit gym that occupied the backside of the building, located in the 14700 block of Old Bandera Road, were displaced by the fire.
“A lot of people, you know, had some doubts and a lot of people kind of struggled with the things that had happened before,” said Roy Rogerio, the church pastor. “We just continued to do what we were called to do, and we just continued to take things one step at a time.”
Rogerio said that included moving his congregation to two different locations in the past three years.
At first, they shared a space with a Baptist church down the road. More recently, he has been holding services in a local motel.
Rogerio’s son, Roman, who also serves as a worship leader, said the whole thing has been quite a journey, a test of faith literally by fire.
“First hearing about it on the news, having the whole thing burn down,” Roman Rogerio said. “It feels good to be back in a new space.”
The church building has been completely rebuilt, but in the same space.
On Saturday, exactly three years to the day that it burned down, Rogerio and his family held an open house at the church to allow members to have a sneak peak.
“There's no place like home, that's for sure,” said Roy Rogerio.
The church will open for services at 10 a.m. Sunday, even though other worship centers are closing their doors.
The San Antonio Archdiocese issued a mandate for all Catholic churches to suspend Sunday mass and large gatherings due to government warnings about COVID-19.
Other faiths also have shut down their churches in response to that.
COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019.
The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.
Roy Rogerio said he plans to make his congregation’s health and safety a priority.
He said they will make extra efforts when it comes to wiping down and sterilizing services within the building.
“But as far as panicking, I don’t think so because our hope’s in the Lord Jesus,” he said.