An historic Catholic church in the Nashville neighborhood of Germantown was among several buildings seriously damaged by a tornado Tuesday night.
The tornado’s main path struck about 100 yards away from the Church of the Assumption in the Diocese of Nashville. The storm destroyed the parish’s north transept, sacristy, and rectory chimney. The winds also badly damaged the building’s steeple and roof.
Fr. Bede Price, pastor of the parish, was able to safely retrieve the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle, and he was uninjured in the storm.
Assessments are underway to determine if the parish building can be saved, or if the damage is too severe.
Approximately 25 people were killed by the tornadoes, which struck throughout East Nashville and surrounding suburbs. The death toll has steadily risen throughout Tuesday morning as recovery efforts continue, and many people remain unaccounted for.
Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Lee, called the tornadoes “heartbreaking,” and stated at a press conference that “we have had loss of life all across the state.”
“Four different counties, as of this morning, had confirmed fatalities,” said Governor Lee.
Most of the people who were killed lived in Putnam County, which is located east of Nashville.
Governor Lee said that he and his wife Maria would be praying for the families of those killed, as well as their communities.
“Sudden loss like that can do powerful damage in a community, but it can also bring a lot of hope,” he said.
Rachel Tiede, a reporter for Fox17 Nashville, shared pictures of the damaged church building early Tuesday morning.
“There are concerns about the steeple toppling over,” she tweeted. Pictures taken during the daylight hours show that the steeple is leaning decidedly to one side.
Mark Cassman, a parishioner at Church of the Assumption, shared images of the damage on his Facebook page. His pictures show that several of the church’s stained glass windows were partially destroyed in the storm, and as well as damage caused to the building by rocks thrown by the tornado.
“Mass cannot be held here for a while,” said Cassman. “It’s bad.”
Read more at National Catholic Register