A freak storm has torn the roof of Our Lady Help of Christians, Karlgarin asunder, leaving a gaping hole and a remaining portion of roof severely damaged by rain.
No building in the 120-person town was left untouched when the storm ripped through the remote locale on Tuesday, January 16 at around 4.30pm.
Parish Priest Fr Sebastian Fernando, who celebrates Mass twice a month at Karlgarin as one of the five Mass centres in his Corrigin/Kulin parish, said he was shocked by the extent of the damage done to the town.
“One of our parishioners called me on Wednesday morning and told me of the havoc caused by the storm,” Fr Fernando told The Record.
“I went to Karlgarin almost immediately to assess the damages. The whole township looked like a war zone.”
Fr Fernando advised Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB of the damage done to the church on Thursday.
“The western side of the roof was stripped of its clips and laid scattered like squashed aluminium foils. The other side of the roof is severely damaged by rain.
“By the look of it the whole roof section needs replacement,” Fr Fernando said.
The Blessed Sacrament was not reserved in the church but Fr Fernando secured the sacred vessels and the sacramentary.
Fr Fernando praised the efforts of the State Emergency Service Team who covered the exposed roof with a tarpaulin to safeguard the church’s contents from rain.
The church was built as a non-denominational place of worship in the late 1960s, largely by non-Catholic Christians, Fr Fernando said.
Steady migration out of the town since then has meant that only the Catholic Church continues to use the building for worship.
The four families who frequent the church for monthly Mass haven’t got far to travel to worship, with the next Mass centre in the parish, Our Lady of Sorrows, Hyden, being less than 15km away.