St. Patrick Church Stays Strong After Flood

By Mark Geary, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS -- Sunday is a day many people typically go to their church to worship.

But, flood damaged stopped one Cedar Rapids congregation from doing that this weekend.

St. Patrick Church has stood along First Avenue for more than a century.

Now, the church estimates it will cost about three-hundred thousand dollars to clean-up the mess inside in the building.

Then, it will likely cost hundreds of thousands more to replace everything that was lost.

In the meantime, parishioners met at another church, St. Jude's, to celebrate mass on Sunday.

St. Patrick's parishioners won't be able to go back inside their own church for months. Yet, they still wanted to worship together.

Father Steve Rosonke said, "The people are what you might call the living stones. The people are the parish community."

As thoughts of destruction and devastation swirled around in people's heads, their faith gave them strength.

"At a time like this, it's the first thing you hold onto. I guess I don't know how people make it through these things without faith," parishioner Sara Stark said.

"God doesn't cause this to happen. He doesn't make bad things happen. But, it happens for a reason," parishioner Diane Rizzio said.

The Archbishop helped Father Rosonke celebrate mass. Both delivered upbeat, inspiring messages to the crowd.


"It's ok to cry. It's ok to grieve, but it's not ok to give up hope," Rosonke said.

Even though they're in a different place, the bond between parishioners remains firm.

Returning to the simple routine of Sunday mass seemed to lift people's spirits.

"Even though we've been knocked down, we're not down for the count. We're going to come back," Rosonke said.

Just as the river rose up and changed everything, this congregation will also rise again.

The flood may have weakened St. Patrick's Church, but it strengthened the parish.

Starting next week, the church will hold mass at Roosevelt Middle School. This is just a temporary solution for now.

At this point, church leaders aren't sure when they'll be able to move back into the building. It could be as long as six months.
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