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Sisters complete goal of Mass at New Orleans' churches

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Posted at 5:31 PM, Dec 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-25 18:31:31-05

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Two elderly sisters have completed their goal of attending mass at every single Catholic church in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. It took them nearly 20 years.

Beverly Kelly and her sister, Pat Mahaffey, crossed the final church off their list on Sunday when they attended 11 a.m. mass at the St. Joseph Abbey Church near Covington, The Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate reported.

It was the 160th church where the sisters attended Mass. That's more than the 120 churches and chapels in the archdiocese.

But some churches have closed since they started their journey. They also went to some churches outside the New Orleans area.

They aimed for one church a month, figuring that would take them roughly 10 years, according to the newspaper. But they revisited many churches along the way and were delayed when Hurricane Katrina struck.

Two other sisters were originally part of the effort, but they died. That made Sunday's Mass emotional.

"We were a very close family," Mahaffey, 88, said. "Sybil (one of the sisters) was sort of the instigator in this church quest. I said a prayer: 'God, I'm sorry you couldn't spare her to complete this. But I feel she is watching us."

Kelly, 84, added, ""In my heart, they are here."