CREVE COEUR, MO (KTVI) - St. Monica Catholic Church celebrated Mass inside a gymnasium this weekend. A damaging and deliberate fire will keep the parish out of its church building at least 3 weeks, according to Fr. Joseph Weber.
He described the past week as difficult and chaotic, saying the parish went from feeling the joy, wonder, and beauty of Christmas to enduring news that someone intentionally set a fire inside their church.
“It’s been a little terrifying to be honest with you,” said parishioner Dennis Sarris. “This church is full of love and compassion. We welcome everyone. And to have a fire and the way it was done at the nativity scene it was pretty horrific for us.”
Fr. Weber said a person of interest is in custody but that no details would be known unless criminal charges are filed.
“The whole community has turned out to be very supportive. And it’s different having mass in the school room and mass in the gym,” said parishioner Mary Ann Croghan. “It could have been a lot worse.”
Fr. Weber thanked the community for an outpouring of support the parish has received. He said the parish is looking into tougher security measures. He says their church building is definitely an important part of the parish, but adds it’s not everything.
“We are here. We’re alive. We’re well. We’re going to keep on going,” said Fr. Weber, adding that it’s the people and the body of Christ that truly make up the church.