BELLEVILLE, IL (KMOX) – A new Roman Catholic parish in the Belleville Diocese is being named after the first Native American saint.

Msr. John Myler says out of the rubble of a church destroyed earlier this year in Ridgeway, Illinois, comes a new building and parish, combining four small Gallatin County parishes into bigger one.

“And the people of those four parishes petitioned Bishop Braxton that the four parishes be joined together now as one new parish and they will be replacing that Gothic church and building a new church for the parish, newly formed, newly named St. Kateri Tekakwitha.”

Shortly before 5 a.m. on February 29th, a tornado passed through several counties in southern Illinois.

St. Joseph Church in Ridgeway was completely destroyed, with only the marble high altar from Italy left standing which Monsignor Myler says will be used in the new building.

Saint Tekakwitha, Lily of the Mohawks, is the newest saint and first Native American saint, canonized by the Pope a couple of weeks ago.


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