RIDGWAY — An initial fundraising event, “Raise the Bells,” kicks off Saturday, July 13, to raise money for the rebuilding of a new Catholic Church on the site of St. Joseph Catholic Church destroyed in the Feb. 29, 2012, tornado.

The doors open at 5:45 p.m. in St. Joseph Gym, 205 W. South St., with a main auction supplemented by silent auctions. There will also be raffles for items donated by area merchants such as a gas grill, said church parishioner Becky Abell of Ridgway who is coordinating the event.

There is also a $25 grilled meal offering and dance afterwards to the live music of Taxi Band of Ridgway.

“This is our first year and we would like to raise $10,000,” Abell said.

Event goers will also have the opportunity to look at finalized drawings for the new church from Cram & Ferguson, an architectural firm from Concord, Mass., that has been retained by the St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Lily of the Mohawks Parish building committee.

Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville announced in the fall of 2012 the formation of St. Kateri parish in honor of St. Kateri who was canonized Oct. 21 by Pope Benedict XVI. In addition to St. Joseph in Ridgway, the new parish includes St. Joseph in Equality, St. Patrick in the Pond Settlement and Immaculate Conception in Shawneetown. The Rev. Steven Beatty was named parish administrator.

The new church that will be built to hold a capacity of 350 people is tentatively scheduled to be completed for Easter Services 2015, Abell said.

St. Matthew Catholic Church of Mount Vernon, Ind., has assisted in the fundraising efforts for the new church and planning of the Raise the Bells event, she said.




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