GALVESTON, Texas -

For the first time in nearly six years, St. Mary Cathedral Basilica in Galveston opened its doors on Easter Sunday.

“It means a lot to everybody to be able to come back here. Everybody has a real sense of gratefulness to everybody who helped restore this church,” said Father E.J. Stein.

The Mother Church of Texas, as it’s called, was severely damaged during Hurricane Ike in 2008. Since then, Stein, said it’s been a community effort to get the church back open.

“Some people have helped with funding, some have helped with their skills, construction, work with their hands skills, some with their artistry,” said Stein.

Among the many repairs done were the pews. Stein told Local 2 all of the original seating has been restored and re-installed. On Easter Sunday the pews were full as hundreds celebrated the reopening of the historical church.

“I’ve got a funny feeling when the cardinal preaches today he’s going to mention that very point. Relate the resurrection of this church with what we celebrate today, the resurrection of Jesus,” Stein said.