To the editor:
Shortly before midnight on Oct. 13, an electrical fire began in the kitchen of St. Peter Church on North Fourth Street, Steubenville. Because of the Adoration Chapel on site, the alertness of a man praying there, his actions and the rapid response of not one, but two, units from the Steubenville Fire Department, a disaster was averted. The fire was contained and did not enter into the upstairs body of the church.
St. Peter Church has been a constant presence in downtown Steubenville for more than 170 years. Countless generations have worshiped here. The Adoration Chapel of St. Peter Church has been a constant presence in downtown Steubenville for 15 years. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the Eucharist is displayed and the chapel is available for prayer. Were that not the case, the outcome of the fire would have been very much different. While there is a significant amount of damage and cleanup and repair will be necessary, it is impossible to not see how St. Peter was protected by Our Lord and Our Lady.
The community of St. Peter - her pastor, the Rev. Timothy Huffman, her associate pastor, the Rev. Jonas Shell, her parish council and those who celebrate the faith within this beautiful and historic church wish to express deepest gratitude to John Rooney, who discovered the fire and sounded the alert, to the firefighters of the North Street and West End fire stations. The firefighters responded immediately and professionally, intercepting what could have been a fire of catastrophic proportion, while exercising the utmost respect for this sacred space and to those who have offered support and prayer during this time of distress.
It is said that circumstances do not make us who we are, but that they reveal who we are. We are truly blessed to be surrounded by people who have shown us who they are - people of courage and faith and integrity. On behalf of the parish community of St. Peter, I offer a heartfelt thank you to all who have reminded us of what a singularly special place Steubenville is. May our Lord keep you in his gentle care.
Mary Jo Yanda
St. Peter Parish Council