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Derecho damaged churches salvage sanctuaries in time for Easter

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa  -Some derecho-damaged churches in the area have salvaged their sanctuaries just in time for Easter. Last weekend we told you about St. Wenceslaus in Cedar Rapids, who got back into their building for mass on Sunday just in time for Holy Week.

St. Pius X Catholic Church was also able to get into their sanctuary for the first time last Sunday.

“We essentially had to gut the whole place and kind of start over,” said Michael Becker, Pastoral Associate at St. Pius.

Water damaged virtually everything, from the carpet to the pews.

“Water was just pouring through here kind of like a rain shower,” Becker said.

The only thing that remained dry was the altar.

“Perhaps this is divine intervention, that was all protected. The skylight was able to push the water off to the sides and that was the one piece of furniture that wasn’t damaged,” Becker explained.

People there had been meeting in their parish hall prior to being able to get back into their sanctuary on Sunday.

“I think you’ve just got to thank God for that, the timing of coming back during Holy Week, especially leading up to Easter. That’s the pivotal time in the church,” Becker said.

At The Church on Northland, the derecho caused extensive damage as well. Pastor Patrick Jackson started there on August 16th, after moving from Virginia to Cedar Rapids with his wife Yvette the week of the derecho.

“When we arrived and just in town it just looked like a bomb had been dropped,” Pastor Patrick said.

When he got to his church for the first time he found a 30 by 50 foot hole in the sanctuary ceiling. He’s been holding virtual service but has not met his congregation in-person since moving to town 8 months ago. That will all change on Easter morning.

“For us to be standing here and to be able to say we’re going to have worship service in-person on Sunday is miraculous, and we are just so excited and so grateful,” Pastor Patrick said.

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