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Catholic Parish in Joplin Learns It Will Soon Receive a New Building

(Photo provided by the Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau)

A Catholic church whose building was completely destroyed in last year’s tornado in Joplin has learned that it now has a site—and the money—for a new facility. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore has details.

The rubble of St. Mary’s Catholic Church became an iconic symbol of the tornado’s devastation. In the months since then, the church has been holding mass in St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Joplin.

But on Easter Sunday, Father Justin Monaghan, pastor of St. Mary’s, announced that the church has a new site, and money to begin building there.

He said when he announced the good news during mass, the congregation applauded.

"We still feel like we're a very homeless people, and we miss one another. We just don't have the meetings, and the social time we had together. We're a very closely knit group. And so, we're still looking for a temporary location," he said.

St. Mary's is splitting 47 acres with The Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. St. Mary’s will keep half, and build its new church there.

Monaghan says that land purchase was made possible through a $250,000 donation from Mercy Health System, which lost a hospital in the tornado.  He said Mercy has pledged to give another donation of a similar size for the actual construction costs.

The new St. Mary’s Catholic Parish facilities will be built just west of 32ndStreet on South Central City Road.  Monaghan estimates it will be completed two years from now.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.