Catholic Church in North Nashville damaged in tornado, reopens for mass

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Church of The Assumption in North Nashville resumed routine mass this week after a tornado and then the COVID-19 pandemic shut them down for nearly two months.

“Several of the windows had blown out and there was just debris everywhere,” Father Bede Price recalled March 3rd, “The wind came into the church and basically the church was inflated like a balloon and the end what happened is the roof popped off which released the pressure… because if the roof hadn’t had popped off, the windows would’ve all blown out.”

Today, the church is emptied out, filled with scaffolding as construction crews try to figure out how to restore the building.

“The concern is the roof and the steeple which is still moving,” Price explained, “It as leaning to the south and now it’s kind of leaning to the west.”

When churches in Tennessee were asked to stop congregating to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Price says that also affected weddings and baptisms.

“This parish normally has about 30 or 35 weddings a year. Several people book a couple years in advance. We’ve had to cancel most of those weddings,” he told News 2.

This week, the Catholic Diocese of Nashville approved resuming in-person mass and confession at half capacity. At Assumption, that also looks a lot different.

“We built temporary chapels in our other buildings,” Price said, “There’s a chapel up here in this building which will seat about 150 people. There’s small chapel next door which will seat about 100 people.”

There are also signs on the doors asking people to wear face masks, while not mandatory, they’re also recommending elderly or high-risk people to stay home.

“We’ve adjusted the mass schedule so that they’ll be four masses over a Sunday and then the daily mass happens in what we call father Bernard Hall which is our old school, and we’re just carrying on,” Price said.

As of right now, they do not expect to have a problem with capacity or social distancing. They will add more masses if they need to.

As for the church, repairs are expected to take about two years and they are asking for financial help.

You can donate to the church by visiting their website here. You can also Venmo them @churchoftheassumption.

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