Beloit Catholic church closed indefinitely after fire

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 8:03 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Beloit Police Department identified two juveniles in connection to a church fire in Beloit as insurance continues to assess the damage. For now, the community is paying the price as St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church is closed indefinitely after Sunday night’s fire.

“The church is immensely, extremely valuable, immensely, extremely important to the community, to myself through my own sort of story of God’s call in my life,” said Father Jarett Konrade. “So, the idea that there would be a fire, the idea of the possibility of loss was extremely scary and extremely overwhelming emotionally. I know that there was a a good, probably 30 to 50 people gathered outside on the lot watching and just obviously lots and lots of concern, even some people welling up with tears.”

The fire spared the exterior of the church and a majority of the damage is secluded to the upstairs library.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve heard, ‘it could have been Notre Dame,,” Fr. Konrade said, referencing the 2019 fire to the historic cathedral in Paris. “We are extremely blessed by the fact that it wasn’t worse.”

The cost is unknown, but for now, the church can’t host experiences on which you can’t put a price tag.

“I had two funerals, two weddings that are upcoming, so that’s going to be a big question mark,” Fr. Konrade said.

For now, the church will hold funerals in a local high school gym.

For now, there is no timeline for when St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church will again open for mass.

If you’d like to help the church with cleanup and repairs, call (785) 738-2851.

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