ROCKY BOY, Mont. (NMB) – 16 months after a fire destroyed St. Mary’s Catholic Church on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation, fundraising efforts continue to rebuild what was lost.
Father Joseph Tran says they have raised around $200,000 so far, but due to rising construction costs, they need hundreds of thousands of dollars more to completely rebuild.
“At first, we thought we had enough to rebuild. But since COVID times, the cost of construction materials has just skyrocketed. So that made us have kind of a problem, not having enough to rebuild completely.”
Tran says they are trying to work with a contractor to narrow down the price that will fit their budget, but it is unclear if any construction will take place this spring.
“We just don’t have enough to rebuild everything completely at one time. We might just rebuild the church and the classroom and forget about the hall. Or we can find different ways to work with them to try to (lower) the price to fit the budget.”
Without a physical building, the congregation has held services in the church parking lot and even in Father Tran’s house during adverse weather.
“During wintertime we go inside (my) house and celebrate mass in there. And my house can only hold about 22 people, so on Sunday, there’s a few people that sit outside in their car, because we have a live-streamed service. So they come and sit in their car and can watch the live-streamed mass from there.”
The congregation had been using space in another church, but Tran says the parking lot is not large enough to accomodate everyone when other events are going on.
Current fundraising efforts can be found on the St. Mary’s Catholic Church Facebook page.