Easter Sunday marked the resurrection of two eastern Iowa churches. Nearly five feet of flood water filled Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids last June, forcing the congregation to worship elsewhere the past ten months.
This was the first mass back in the church and both Sunday services had a standing-room only crowd. Parishioner Jim Lane says it was a thrill to be back in the building.
Lane says, "I live just across the street and cars started coming in a little after seven o’clock for the eight o’clock mass and they waited for the parking lot to empty for ten o’clock. Pretty happy bunch of people." The Archbishop of Dubuque, Jerome Hanus, even attended the mass.
Now that the church is repaired, parishioners will focus on rebuilding the parish center and the rectory. To the northeast in nearby Monticello, members of the First Presbyterian Church were back in their church for services for the first time since an arsonist set fire to the structure last March.
Pastor Al Polito says more than 200 members helped celebrate the homecoming with a balloon release as part of the Easter service.
Pastor Polito says: "It just feels really good to have everyone back, seeing all the families back together. When the choir was practicing, they were laughing, having fun.
Familiar sounds, that was really nice." The blaze destroyed everything from the church’s basement to the bell tower, leaving only the four walls standing.