A Catholic priest from a Houston church devastated by Hurricane Harvey is reportedly set to present gifts to Pope Francis, including a necklace of Astros-themed rosary beads, an Astros cap, a hand-made ornament from a parishioner and a pen made from the warped wood of the damaged parish.
Maria Esther Aguilera, a parishioner at Annunciation Catholic Church across the street from Minute Maid Park, said she began making the rosaries at the beginning of the 2017 season, and the church began selling the beads as a way to raise funds to cover much-needed repairs and renovations.
Parishioners and church leaders said they began noticing a trend with the sales, as well:
Every time the church sold out of the beads, the Astros won.
The trend reportedly caught on so well, even non-Catholics started flocking to the church on Saturdays to purchase the beads.
Astros owner Jim Crane said he bought a set prior to the American League Championship Series, when the Astros beat the New York Yankees in seven games to earn the team its first American League pennant and its second World Series berth:
“I don’t want the people to say Maria said, if we pray, then we can win. Maybe! If we believe, everything can happen,” Aguilera said in an interview with a local TV station prior to the World Series.
The pen made from the wood from the St. Ignatius Catholic Church in northwest Harris County to be presented to the Roman Catholic leader is said to be made from the church, which took on more than six-feet of water from Hurricane Harvey, forcing parishioners to take Mass in a tent.
The Houston delegation to the Vatican is said to include priests and parishioners, rescheduled from September 2017 after being postponed due to Hurricane Harvey.
The priests will meet with Pope Francis on February 6, while the parishioners’ meeting is scheduled for February 7. They’ll head home to Houston two days later.
God bless Houston. God bless the Astros.