RIDGWAY, IL -
Two years after being hit by a tornado, the St. Kateri Catholic Church in Ridgway, Illinois is finally being rebuilt.
The tornado destroyed the church just after dawn. After the congregation was account for, the shock set in for Father Steven Beatty.
"It really took a while to sink in that we'd really lost something precious," said Father Beatty.
But not everything was reduced to rubble. Carl Payne says he couldn't believe his eyes when he saw what was spared.
"The Lord must've really been looking after that altar because it was standing, didn't have a scratch on it," said Payne.
The altar has been taken apart, crated up, and is being kept safe in a garage. It is made of hand-carved Italian marble. When it is put together it weighs about 20 tons.
Construction continues while the altar awaits its big reveal. On Tuesday, crews made up of mostly volunteers were digging out the basement of the church. It'll take nearly a year for the church to be ready.
Father Beatty says he can't imagine what it'll feel like to hold that very first mass.
"It's going to be overwhelming," said Father Beatty.
But on that day, he know where all eyes will be fixed, on that altar.
The church still needs to raise about a half million dollars. To continue raising funds, the church is holding a dinner and auction in the gym next door to the construction site on Saturday July 26th a 7:00 p.m.
You can keep updated with the rebuild and donate by clicking here.