Six years ago, tragedy struck a church near Cherokee, Iowa.
A violent windstorm blew through the town, leaving their church in shambles. They did not rebuild, and members were forced to find new places to worship.
Sunday, the church family came together again, to celebrate a new beginning.
Maureen Kohn still remembers the day six years ago, when she heard on the news a violent windstorm had destroyed the church she grew up in.
"I could not believe it," said Kohn. "But it was true. There just wasn't anything left of it."
She says seeing the church flattened by the wind was an incredibly trying experience.
"Losing that church was almost like losing a family member," said Kohn. "It was really hard."
"There was a lot of hurt, there's a lot of generational people that are really rooted in the agricultural community," said Rev. Gene Sitzmann, the long-time priest of the Maryville church.
When R. Walker Nickless was appointed as the new bishop of Sioux City, he decided building a brand new church was impractical.
"We didn't want it to let go unnoticed," said Nickless. "So, the idea of a shrine, a memorial of some sort. So, this is what happened. This beautiful, beautiful site here."
This new shrine was built on the site of the old church. Congregation members say they're excited because the stain glass was salvaged, even if it took a little bit of work.
"I screened through them and try to find those components and parts that could still be reconstructed"," said Sitzmann.
Sitzmann says the windows were the only part of the church that really could be re-used because of the damage. But even more significantly, he said the windows painted a fine picture of the Catholic tradition.
"That was a walking history, and that's why so many people who came as visitors said wow, your windows really take hold of our faith," said Sitzmann.
"Those windows were absolutely shattered, and putting them back together is just a wonderful thing," said Ed Wiemold, a long-time congregation member at Maryhill.
Shelly Bohlke had the painstaking job of putting the pieces back together.
"There were hands, the key, and the hands were available, and that was the only thing I had to work with," said Bohlke.
But Bohlke still set out to save this piece of the past, even if the figures might look a little different than before.
"I don't know whose clothing they're wearing, but it turned out to be a beautiful window," said Bohlke.
And on the day, where Maryhill used to hold its church picnics, a beautiful reunion as well.
The new prayer tower will be used by all three churches near Maryhill.
Dan Sligh and his wife were in their pickup truck on Interstate 5 heading to a camping trip when a bridge before them disappeared in a "big puff of dust."More >>
The trucker was hauling drilling equipment when his load bumped against the steel framework over an Interstate 5 bridge. He looked in his rearview mirror and watched in horror as the span collapsed into the water behind him....More >>
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Kathy Clayton at (712) 239-4100 x209. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.