GRAFTON — Heavy rains this spring have caused the Mississippi River to flood, reaching near record levels, and wreaking havoc for communities along the river. In Grafton, the inside of St. Patrick Catholic Church is currently under a couple of feet of water. Parishioners and community members worked tirelessly May 29 and 30 to build scaffolding and lifted pews, the altar, and other items to the choir loft to keep those items dry. The scene was reminiscent of the Great Flood of 1993, shown here on the cover of Catholic Times that summer.
There is concern water and mud will damage exposed wood in the church and the rectory, among other issues that come with floods.
Father Martin Smith, parochial administrator of St. Patrick, says he is grateful for all the volunteers who have helped move items from inside the church, parish hall and rectory to safer locations.
“I would like to especially thank Bryon LeBeau, Karen Kinder and many others parish members who helped plan, gather volunteers and acted to preserve the treasure that is St. Patrick’s Parish in Grafton,” Father Smith said. “This place is a very special church that has survived 148 years. It has been an important part of many individual lives and the lives of families for many generations. It’s also an important part of the community and the history of Grafton, Illinois. This parish is loved by many, and that is evident by the outpouring of support, love and prayers that have been given to ensure this parish, and its mission of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, goes on. Thank you to everyone who has been keeping us in your prayers! God bless!”
A clean-up day is expected to be announced after the waters recede.