Catholic Response to Jefferson City Tornado

Jc Tornado Gil Long

Wednesday night, on the eighth anniversary of the devastating Joplin tornado, Jefferson City was hit by a powerful tornado that left significant damage in its path. By the grace of God, a small number of injuries were reported and zero fatalities occurred in Jefferson City, despite widespread damage in the area. The area surrounding the State Capitol building as well as parts of the southern side of town were the most heavily damaged, and Thursday morning over 10,000 power outages were reported. Here you can see drone footage of some of the damage taken by Ameren, the utility company that's working tirelessly to get power back to citizens and businesses in Jefferson City. It is estimated that by Friday night all of Eldon and 70 percent of Jefferson City will have power restored. Local photographers shared chilling photo accounts of the damage on Capitol Ave and Dunklin Street, both of which are near the Missouri Catholic Conference, and of the south side of the city, where the tornado first hit. This video shows destruction at a local car dealership, where an estimated 500 cars were damaged. The Missouri Catholic Conference building lost power for nearly 24 hours, but thankfully both the staff and structure were unharmed.

The Diocese of Jefferson City released this statement about the storm Thursday afternoon. 

Damage from the tornado which touched down in central Missouri close to midnight on May 22 is still being assessed, but initial reports indicate no loss of life or anyone missing. "We are grateful lives were spared, and for the outpouring of support from around the country," said Bishop W. Shawn McKnight, bishop of the Diocese of Jefferson City. At this time, no Catholic parishes or schools have reported serious damage, nor was the Chancery impacted.

Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri is part of a local and statewide team of responders. Of greatest need currently are financial donations. Donations may be made on the Catholic Charities' website,, or on the diocesan website, All money will go directly to relief efforts, not only for the victims of the tornado, but also for any affected by flooding along the Missouri and its major tributaries.

"Please continue to pray with us, for those who have suffered from this natural disaster, and also for those who are coming to their assistance," Bishop McKnight said. 

In southern Missouri, three lives were lost as a result of a tornado that occurred north of Joplin. We continue to pray for those who died as well as their families, and ask for your prayers as well. The USCCB released a statement Friday morning in response to this storm as well as others that have ravaged the Midwest.

photo courtesy of Gil Long

May 24, 2019 - 2:00pm

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