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On Dec. 12, 2021, 200 Advent worshipers were evacuated from Immaculate Conception Catholic Church while firefighters battled a blaze that started in the sanctuary eaves.

Damage to the sanctuary was extensive, including the holy water fount and a stained glass window that served as the main focal point for the church.

At this time, the amount of insurance for repairs is pending.

“We’ve started taking down items,” said Rosie Cabrera, president of the Parish Council. “The sanctuary will probably have to be gutted. The exterior of the church does not look like the interior.”

But even without the sanctuary, worship continues.

“We’re still in the Parish Hall,” Cabrera said. “We’ve made accommodations for at least a year till anything gets fixed at the church.”

The church continues to offer regular services in the Parish Hall on Saturday and Sunday and daily mass every day throughout the week.

“We have not seen the numbers go down,” Cabrera said. “We still have 200 people in service.”

The church is holding fundraisers to help with expenses including a Lenten Fish Fry on Fridays. Another fundraiser is the Half-and-Half Raffle with a goal of raising $300,000. Half of that goes to the winner.

“We hold the drawing at the annual Jamaica in July,” Cabrera said. “In 2019, we almost met the goal of $100,000. We raised $97,000, and a woman in Sudan won half of that ($48,500).”

The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Fire Restoration Fund account has been established at Happy State Bank for those who wish to donate.

“We’re very appreciative of First Baptist Church for letting us use their building for our celebrations after the fire on Dec. 12, and to all who have donated up to this point,” Cabrera said.

Gail M. Williams

Muleshoe Journal Correspondent

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