Puebla city was near the epicenter of the earthquake
A number of Mexican towns like Cholula have a rich colonial architectural history. Many churches are found in these places. The recent earthquake has destroyed many of them. The death toll from the earthquake which happened during the third week of September is over 300. About 150 churches have been structurally damaged in central Mexico. The biggest damage was suffered by churches built in Puebla state, the quake's epicenter.
One prominent church extensively damaged was Our Lady of Angels Church in Mexico City. Its historic cupola was destroyed. There were plenty of hints beforehand its destruction. Several violent cracks crisscrossed the dome. The wooden pews of the church were subjected to patter from the debris of the roof above. The cupola finally split and half of the structure crashed. According to Marco Antonio Fuentes of the church ministry, “Each earthquake has left its mark. This one seems to be the straw that will break the camel’s back.”
The earthquake destroyed a large number of statues depicting saints. The statues suffered missing feet and hands. The churches, with their roofs broken down, are open to the sky. Dust from the fallen stone and the cover altars made of concrete coat the structure. A majority of destroyed churches are in Puebla. One church in Atzala city witnessed a tragedy when the church roof collapsed during a child's baptism rites. Several family members were killed, including the two-month baby being Christened.
Priests can no longer say their Mass inside the collapsing churches. Services are now held outside paying due homage to survivors and the victims. Colin Noguez, a priest at the Our Lady of Angels church, reassured parishioners that the Christian religion is much more than a structure. He spoke this while standing outside the church in a tent. In front of him were the candles and a cross taken from the destroyed consecrated structure.
The church where my parents got married collapsed because of the earthquake😭praying for Mexico 🙏🏽🇲🇽 pic.twitter.com/y70Kq1NFDA
— Jasmine Higuera (@heyhasmine) September 19, 2017
The structural damage to the churches in Mexico hit a different kind of chord. The houses of worship serve as the source of strength during distress times. In Mexico City, the heaviest damaged church is Our Lady of Angles. Most of the churches destroyed are in Puebla.
The center of Cholula nearly destroyed by the earthquake, has ancient pyramids. The few churches located on top the pyramids have their domes broken down. Damage has also affected Church of the Remedies.