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Groundbreaking for Saint Mary's church and school in Joplin - KOAM TV 7

Groundbreaking for Saint Mary's church and school in Joplin

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More than two dozen churches were destroyed in the tornado that tore through Joplin and Duquesne in 2011, but part of one of those churches became a symbol of hope for the community.

The Saint Mary's cross stood strong despite buildings tumbling around it.

Thursday evening the parish will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at 32nd and Central City Road.

Parishioners have been anxiously awaiting this day.  Shovels are ready and the bishop, Father Justin Monaghan, the pastor and other leaders will break ground.

This comes nearly two years after the tornado took down the church, the Saint Mary's Grade School and the Parish Center.  Rebuilding meant creating plans for all three.

While insurance will cover some of the cost, a more modern school and church built to last the next 50 to 100 years will take more money.  The parish has a capitol campaign underway to raise more than $3 million.

All believe it's an investment in the education of children, as well as the spiritual strength of the Catholic community that weathered such a powerful storm, with many losing their homes along with their place of worship.

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