Ridgway Catholic church ready to rebuild - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Ridgway Catholic church ready to rebuild

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Harrisburg St. Joseph Catholic Church alter that survived the 2012 tornado. Harrisburg St. Joseph Catholic Church alter that survived the 2012 tornado.
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RIDGWAY, IL (KFVS) -

In the many small Heartland communities, churches serve as the centerpiece of the town.

That was certainly true of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Ridgway.

The 118-year-old church was flattened by a EF-4 tornado one year ago.

The church steeple was a landmark and a navigational tool as it could be seen miles away.

But on February 29, 2012, it was all brought down.

Parish priest Father Steven Beatty escaped from the rectory attached to the church.

All that was left was the alter, something Father Beatty says served as a sign of better things to come for his parish.

"I have a more profound sense now that when God created the universe, He chose not to make us the most powerful thing in it," Beatty said. "I'm not going to get behind what was the divine will behind the history we live, but I know it's there, and I know his hand is with us every day."

Now as far as that alter goes, it is still in tact and in storage.

It will be used when the new church is built on the footprint of St. Joseph's.

The tornado also resulted in all four of the catholic parishes in Gallatin County combining into St. Kateri Catholic Church.

The church is already looking at blueprints but still needs donations.

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