Posted by: mollyrossiter | April 13, 2009

A day of Resurrection

CEDAR RAPIDS – More than 400 people crowded into St. Patrick’s Church Sunday morning to celebrate Easter and the resurrection of their church home.

“May our parish be a beacon of hope to our community as we seek to rise to new life in Christ,” said the Rev. Jerome Hanus, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Dubuque.

St. Patrick’s Church, 500 First Ave. NW, in Cedar Rapids, was heavily damaged by waters from the Cedar River in June of last year. Rumors swirled that the church wouldn’t reopen.

Those rumors were put to rest Sunday as parishioners and visitors filed into the church to celebrate Easter and the building’s new life.

“It’s a great moment of celebration and gratitude to all who made this happen,” Hanus said.

Reminders of the devastation that kept the doors closed for so long weren’t hard to find. In the neighborhoods surrounding the church debris was piled curbside. Two blocks away another flood-damaged church, Trinity United Methodist, had been partially demolished. Its congregation determined costs to rehabilitate the building would be too prohibitive.

Both pastors — the Rev. Bob Voels at Trinity and the Rev. Philip Thompson at St. Patricks — pointed to the significance of the timing of each event.

For St. Patricks, it was the first Mass since the flood that fell on Easter Sunday. Both Thompson and Archbishop Jerome Hanus recalled the resurrection of the church, springing to life after the devastating flood.

For Trinity, it was the sign that there must be death in order to have rebirth, and that by demolishing the building — which began on Good Friday — the congregation could truly move forward and begin again. Despite the damaged building, however, Voels said the congregation has been “not only surviving, but thriving.”



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