A windstorm Friday destroyed the entire roof of the historic St. Joseph Parish Church, which was built in the 19th century. Luckily, there were no injuries reported in the incident.

Windstorm at Historic St. Joseph Parish Church

On Friday, Mar. 3, a windstorm tore the roof off a historic St. Joseph Parish Church built in southern Indiana in the late 19th century. The Catholic World Report stated that as per the church's pastor, Father Gene Schroeder, the strong winds blowing in a straight line destroyed the metal roof of the church, which had been around for about ten years. It completely went off the building, scattering the debris primarily in the parking lots as well as in the yard and driveway of a neighbor. 

The ceiling collapsed not long after a funeral had been held inside the church and at the same time that classes were taking place in the adjacent parish school. Miraculously, the parish's office, the school rector, and nearby houses remained undamaged throughout the incident. In addition, the severe windstorm knocked out power to tens of thousands of residents in the tri-state area, including Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky, and damaged a hospital in Evansville.

Moreover, Father Schroeder said that the church's interior did not receive any damage due to the windstorm because the plaster ceiling was above the sanctuary. He also stated that workers are installing a temporary cover over the roof to protect it from potential flood damage caused by the rain expected to fall later this week.

According to a report from the Catholic News Agency, the couple residing in the house directly across the street from the Joseph Parish Church stated that they married at the church 59 years ago. As mentioned, they reportedly saw the ripped-off roof barreling toward them through the front window of their home and are grateful that the roof struck their garage rather than their window.

Even though the windstorm damaged the church, the parish could still host its annual fish fry. Furthermore, St. Paul's United Church of Christ and a local community of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are two of the faith communities in the county that have reached out to Schroeder with offers of prayers and material support. Schroeder said that he had been encouraged by these communities' responses. He emphasized that the local Catholic community is willing to assist in reconstructing their historic church. In addition, he mentioned that many of the people working to fix the building have connections to the parish.

Also Read: Lilly Endowment Inc. Gave $3 Million Grant for Reconstruction of Historic First Baptist Church in Williamsburg

About St. Joseph Parish Church

Based on an article from the St. Joseph Catholic Church in 1837, the church was established with the help of Father Joseph Kundek, a Croatian missionary priest. As soon as he arrived, Father Kundek put all his boundless energy and unwavering commitment into strengthening the community of 39 families he had just joined. Due to his hard work, the priest received many achievements before passing away in 1857 at 47.

The current church is the result of almost single-handed labor put in by the fourth priest, Father Fidelis Maute, O.S.B., who oversaw the construction of the building. In addition to his role as a priest at the new church, Father Fidelis served as foreman, laborer, architect, contractor, and fundraiser. The congregation members contributed the labor and the resources necessary to construct the structure. In 1867, work on the foundation was initiated, and in 1868, Bishop de St. Palais, the first missionary to Jasper, consecrated and positioned the cornerstone. In 1880, after the church's construction finished, the chapel was blessed, and after three years, it was consecrated. In addition, the congregation spent $80,000 on the initial construction of the building and $200,000 on the renovation in 1954.

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