“The cross was the thing that gave them hope that they would get out,” Motazedi recounted.
An electric utility has purchased the St. Mary’s Church land to build a power substation, a significant act in a “grieving community.”
However, the church has retained ownership of the area around the cross and the cemetery property.
A 6 p.m. Mass will be said at Joplin’s other Catholic church, St. Peter of the Apostles.
Other community events include a 3.7-mile walk with several stops along the way, including groundbreaking at Joplin’s new public high school.
“Those stops all mark the future of Joplin,” said Motazedi. “They are significant events that show we are moving forward.
The elementary school attached to St. Mary’s Church reopened at a warehouse next to the area’s Catholic high school. Plans to rebuild the school, for preschoolers through the fifth grade, are on hold until plans for the new church can be made.
“The good things that have always happened inside the schools are still happening,” Motazedi said.
“My kids are students there and they have had a great year.”
Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri reports that its Repair/Rebuild Office has helped contribute to the rebuilding efforts, repairing more than 100 homes. It has helped rebuild two homes completely and nine houses are currently under construction.
The charity has nine case managers to help storm victims and has received a grant to hire another.
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Gabe Tischler, the disaster coordinator for Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri, recently told a disaster preparedness seminar in Baton Rouge, La. that local Catholic churches stepped up to help their neighbors.
The providential arrival of supplies and the support of volunteers has “reinforced my faith even more,” he said, according to the Baton Rouge newspaper The Advocate.
“When I first started this I was worried every day how we were going to pay for it and now I no longer lose sleep on it. It’s going to happen and it just happens.”