Andale church reborn after devastating fire


Just months after a fire that lead to millions of dollars in damage at St. Joseph Catholic Church, parishioners are seeing the renovated church for the first time. 

Sacred music flowed through the Andale church for the first time since lightning struck it just before masses on a Sunday last June. 

“It’s been a long journey,” said Lynn Ahrens, parishioner. “It’s been a long time of sitting on bridge chairs over in the Parish Hall.”

That test of faith lead to a beautifully renovated church. 

“It made me tear up, I’m not going to lie,” said Brittany Lies, parishioner. “It’s beautiful.”

Many repairs were done throughout the church.

“On the inside, every wall has been coated with new plaster, the whole roof system was replaced, all new electrical wiring through the church, new plumbing and HVAC,” said Father Daryl Befort. 

While it may have a brand-new look, the meaning is still the same. 

It’s been a long journey for some parishioners. Many grew up in the church. 

“I was baptized here,” said Lies. “I had my first communion here. I got married here. My kids were both baptized here.”

Hundreds came to get their own view of the church. Many stopped in their tracks to take in the view. 

“It was beautiful before,” said Ahrens. “We had a gorgeous church. This is absolutely breath-taking. It’s incredible.”

“The faith of this community has always been a very strong faith,” said Father Befort. “They’ve trusted in God that the structure was still standing and that it would all come back together.”

From the gorgeous views to the great detail, this piece of history will continue to be proof of the power of faith.

“The structure was built by faithful parishioners over a 100 years ago and will stand for many years to come,” said Father Befort. 

On Monday (Mar. 18) night at 6 p.m., parishioners will gather for the blessing and dedication of the renovated church. This marks the first celebration of mass in the church since the fire. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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