VANDERBURGH COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT) – It was a race against time as crews worked to cover the exposed roof of St. Joseph Catholic Church ahead of impending rain chances. The church’s roof was blown off after an EF-1 tornado with 100 mph winds tore through northwestern Vanderburgh County on March 3. With an exposed roof, something had to be done before the next weather system approaches.
“They’re putting a rubber membrane on that,” explains Father Gene Schroeder of St. Joseph Catholic Church. “So that’s the great thing that, now, it’s going to be protected from the weather, which was our big concern.”
During the March 3 storm, the entire roof was blown onto the roadway, with some material flying into a nearby yard. Despite the extensive damage, engineers have confirmed the church’s building is structurally sound.
“The inside of the church, really, there’s some damage to the plaster ceiling and all of that,” says Father Schroeder, “obviously, that’s going to take some repair work.”
Father Schroeder says many of the church parishioners work in the trade industry and have stepped in to help the recovery process. Father Schroeder says that has made the rebuilding efforts easier to handle.
“You could look at this and say, ‘Well, yeah we lost the church roof and that’s big damage’ and all that kind of stuff,” says Father Schroeder, “But just to see so many blessings come out of that. I mean, blessings from the beginning that, my goodness, this damage was limited to the roof of the church.”
With the roof now protected, Father Schroeder and his staff can breathe a sigh of relief and process the event; something he says they have not been able to do since before the storm.
“Getting this here is going to give us a chance to kind of take our breath a little bit and say okay, alright now let’s plan for the, plan as we go ahead,” says Father Schroeder.