Photo courtesy of NewsChannel 5 Photojournalist Tom Herman.
Madison, IL (KSDK) --Church members are making it work. Parishioners of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Polish National Catholic Church in Madison, Illinois continued with mass Sunday morning despite the view of their scarred church in the background.
It's service as usual but in a unusual location. Sunday mass on the lawn, with a backdrop of an emotional day.
"People across the street kept saying to me there's a fire down the street and I looked down and there was black smoke coming," says longtime church member Helen Gaddy. "I thought oh know, it's my church, and I was devastated I still have that hard feeling."
Last Wednesday afternoon the Polish Catholic church caught fire. The roof caved in and the sanctuary was destroyed.
Father Andrzej Bako assures the small Sunday crowd that the charred beams don't equal the end.
"There is another word for church, living body of Christ and here we are living body of Christ," says Father Bako to his parish.
Gaddy is the oldest member of the church, she's 92 years old and was seven when the church was built.
"We played ball in the back the girls against the boys, we had little wiener roasts, we had so many things we did," remembers Gaddy.
She says she hopes the rebuilding will bring in new blood and help grow the church. Father Bako believes a rebirth is right around the corner.
"That's the portal, that's the door to new beginnings we have to die in order to live and new and better life and that's what we are going to do in our church," says Father Bako.
As for the cause of the fire, it's still believed that the roofing company had something to do with the start of the blaze.
Father Bako tells us there are no hard feelings, employees of the roofing company came back the day after the fire to help the parishioners clean up.
There is a way for you to get involved.
To donate money:
Sacred Heart of Jesus PMCC
c/o Father Anddrzej Bako
2011 N. 11th St.
St. Louis, MO 63106