Historic church rebuilds after lightning strikes the building

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ANDALE, Kan. (KAKE) -

After a long nine months, members of a Catholic church in Andale are counting their blessings as their doors have re-opened. 

Sunday morning, members of the St. Joseph Catholic Church piled into the historic building and filled the pews. 

"It's our spiritual centerpiece," says Tony Lane, a long-time congregation member. 

But last summer the place of worship in southern Kansas was empty, lightning struck the building and devastated the community's only church.  

Lane baptized three of his kids there and felt called to help rebuild, "I didn't know if the church would ever come back together again as it was before. But the year long process of restoring the church, it's just amazing." 

Members of the congregation applaud all of the community for their hard work in re-opening the church doors. 

"It's great to see the finished product. It's not about me, it's always about the space and the worship community to bring them together and to be able to give that glory to God," says Father Daryl Befort, the Priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church. 

Many members of St. Joseph's call Father Befort a "God-Send" as he poured his heart and hands into restoring the church. 

"Father Daryl did a fabulous job. I don't know if any other Priest could have did what he did in leading the effort," says Darrel Schenck, a long-time congregation member.

Virginia Meyer and her husband have been going to the church for over 50 years and she was devastated when the fire happened, but feels blessed to have Father Befort helping with the restoration, "it was really a blessing. It was unbelievable how everybody worked together." 

But Father Befort says it was all a community effort, "I just happen to be the priest here at the time. It was really the work of the people that brought it all together, had a great team." 

Now Lane is encouraging people all across Kansas to come and rejoice in the church's beauty, "the people themselves have just been energized by it. So I think it's just been a wonderful experience and it's one that everyone should be able to share in and partake in."