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BEACON OF HOPE: Barnsdall church holds first service since tornado

Posted at 5:45 PM, May 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-13 19:00:12-04

BARNSDALL, Okla. — It's been nearly a week since an EF4 tornado hit the town of Barnsdall, destroying thousands of homes.

READ MORE: Barnsdall damaged by tornado twice in two months

Despite the devastation, St. Mary's Catholic Church stands ready to serve those in the community. The church has damage, but homes around it weren't so lucky.

This was the church's first service since the tornado, it was full of hugs, relief, and hope.

Churchgoer Thomas Gann embraced every moment of the service. "Just to see the smiles and the fact we're here," Gann said. "Father said that morning; he said we will have church on Sunday and we did."

Father Emmanuel Nduka told 2 News they worked tirelessly to ensure the community still had a place to worship.

WATCH: Earlier this week, 2 News talked to him about the church surviving the tornado.

Church Survived Barnsdall Tornado

More people turned out than expected.

"It meant the world, it meant that we had the support of our Catholic community in this part of the state," Gann said.

The unity meant a lot to Francis Berg, who was baptized and married at St. Mary's. To her, it's a pillar of her life.

"It's meant a great deal to have so many people here and just the love and the appreciation that God blessed us," Berg said.

She said while the damage has made the town unrecognizable, the opportunity to worship is the light at the end of the tunnel.

"Our church made it home again with the cross still standing and just a beacon of hope for our community," said Berg.

The church plans to hold services every Sunday at 11:30 a.m.

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