Storms wreak havoc on southeast Iowa

Heavy winds damaged the Shrine of the Holy Cross in the Fields, at St. Ann Parish in Long Grove May 6.

By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

Winds in excess of 60 mph toppled a granite shrine at St. Ann Parish in Long Grove the evening of May 6, shattering statues. “There is a break in the trees right to the north of the shrine, so it was a direct hit,” said co-secretary and lifelong parishioner Nancy Shannon.

The Shrine of the Holy Cross in the Fields features a crucifix, St. John, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Mary Magdalene. Dedicated in 2016 in memory of parishioner Ray Boeding’s wife, Joan, it was “an important addition to our grounds,” Shannon said.

Winds blew the crucifix over at its base. The crucifix crashed into the center statue, causing significant damage to both. Boeding “was very upset when he saw it on Monday morning,” Shannon recalled, adding that she was devastated when she saw the extent of the damage. It could take more than a year for the Italian-crafted shrine to be fixed due to a shortage of materials.


A line of strong thunderstorms swept across eastern Iowa May 6, causing damage to parishes’ buildings and also homes and vehicles in the Diocese of Davenport.

Baseball-size hail battered Grinnell and caused significant damage, according to local news reports. St. Mary Parish sustained clay tile damage to the church roof, some metal damage to the parish

Agnus Willard shows a hailstone that landed on her family’s property near Grinnell.

center and siding damage to the rectory, said office manager Jay Deitrich. Several cars (belonging to parishioners and others) were damaged, with front and back windshields heavily cracked or completely busted out.

Angelina Willard, the parish’s director of religious education, said the siding and roof on her family’s home will need replacing, along with two cars. “I will be without a car for at least a week, which will be difficult because I have seven kids to take around to activities,” she said.

Sacred Heart Parish in Newton also sustained damage. Golf ball-size hail hit the church and parish buildings causing damage to the roofs and puncturing a hole in one of the four skylights above the sanctuary, said the parish’s pastor, Father Tony Herold. “One of our parishioners was able to climb on the roof and temporarily patch the skylight until it can be replaced,” he said. Initial assessments indicate that the roofs on the church, gathering space and parish hall will need to be replaced. “We will know more after the insurance adjuster visits the parish on May 18.”

The entire community was severely affected, the pastor said, noting that his car was pummeled with hail while visiting parishioners that evening. “Most of our parishioners have similar hail damage on their roofs and/or cars. Our parishioners in Baxter were hit worse than those in Newton.”

Parishes in Cosgrove, Oxford and Mechanicsville also reported damage from the storm. The Davenport Diocese’s property insurance provider is working with the affected parishes to assess damages, officials said.

Support The Catholic Messenger’s mission to inform, educate and inspire the faithful of the Diocese of Davenport – and beyond! Subscribe to the print and/or e-edition, or make a one-time donation, today!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted on