Barnsdall, Oklahoma was struck by an EF-4 tornado on May 6, causing significant damage across the town, including to St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

Despite the extensive damage to the building and surrounding area, the church’s altar and tabernacle were remarkably undisturbed.

Deacon Harrison Garlick said on X (formerly Twitter) that “the tornado blew in the front door and blew out the back door. Glass and debris everywhere. Yet…the Altar was undisturbed. Not a single candle had fallen over. Tabernacle in place. And the Sanctuary Candle was still lit.”

Local residents and parishioners came together to aid in the cleanup and repairs. Many volunteers, both local and from out of town, contributed to the efforts, boarding up windows and patching the roof. “It was really the best of Oklahoma,” said Deacon Garlick.

Father Emmanuel Nduka, the church’s pastor, was also moved by the sight of the intact sanctuary. “So when I saw it, I knelt down, in adoration to the Lord, and said, ‘thank you for everything.’ We as Christians should rely on God every time,” he said to 2 News Oklahoma.

Plans for Sunday Mass are confirmed, with the community eager to attend as recovery efforts are ongoing.

Pray for the victims of the recent tornadoes in Barnsdall, Oklahoma! 🙏

Photo credit: llucky78 /
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