SPRING, Texas - From the playoffs to the World Series to Astros team owner Jim Crane buying a strand, a set of prayer beads made an impression on Houston. But the story of the Astros-themed rosaries isn't done yet.
The selling of Astros-themed rosaries began at the start of the 2017 season as a way to drum up donations for renovations to Annunciation Catholic Church and ended with crowds waiting in line for the rosary beads during the World Series.
Every time Annunciation Catholic Church sold out of the handmade rosaries, the Astros won by a landslide.
"And every time I think the story’s over, it’s not," said Elsie Hernandez who came up with the idea to sell the orange and blue rosaries.
A 40-minute drive from the downtown church, Saint Ignatius was in the news, too. The Catholic Church, located along Cypresswood Drive between I-45 and Highway 249, took in about 6 feet of water during Hurricane Harvey.
The flood water seeped up onto the alter and forced parishioners into a tent for mass for the time being. About 40 parishioners were supposed to make a trip to Italy two weeks after the hurricane. That September 2017 trip was postponed until next Tuesday.
Father Norbert Maduzia, the pastor of St. Ignatius, will lead the trip, which includes stops in Rome and the Vatican. Father Norbert and Father James of Christ The Good Shepherd Catholic Church received an invitation to meet Pope Francis.
The Catholic priests are taking unique items from Houston to give to the pontiff. An Astros-themed rosary will be one of the gifts.
A pen, carved out of warped wood from a flooded St. Ignatius, will travel from the Houston area to Vatican City. An ornament made by a parishioner of St. Ignatius that reads, "When you go through deep waters, I will be with you," and an Astros cap will round out the items presented.
The group of travelers departed Houston Tuesday, Jan. 20 and will return Thursday, Feb. 9.
While only the priests will meet the Pope on Feb. 6, the entire group is expected to be a part of the general audience for mass on Feb. 7.