Burned down church rises from the ashes

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BRUSSELS, IL (KPLR) –It’s been a long three years for member of the Immaculate Conception parish in Brussels, IL.  The church was destroyed by fire on Christmas Eve, 2011.   Monday night the church opened its new doors for the first time.  Parishioners filled the pews and celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Church leaders say there are approximately 300 members.  That number is twice the size of the population of the Village of Brussels.

Charles Burch helped lead the rebuild effort.  He held back tears as he stood inside the church Monday night.

“It’s the heart of the community,” said Burch.  “It’s just heartwarming to have it back in time for Christmas.”

The church is commonly referred to as St. Mary’s.  Generations of families have celebrated baptisms, weddings and other events at the church.

Yvonne Macauley is a parishioner who helped oversee the rebuild.

“It’s just breathtaking,” said Macauley.  “You just want to sit in silence and look at everything.”

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