MUD LAKE – Construction on a new Catholic Church in Mud Lake is a welcome sight for the nearly 300 people who attend.
St. Ann’s Catholic Church at 1084 Idaho Highway 33 caught fire in July 2021 when lightning hit a tree in the vicinity and spread to some wires attached to a propane tank inside.
“There were these wires that went into the basement. It sparked a fire, engulfing the inside of the whole church,” Gisselle Montalvan, a spokeswoman for the Pope St. John Paul II Parish in Idaho Falls, which oversees the Mud Lake congregation, tells EastIdahoNews.com.
The blaze completely destroyed the 58-year-old building, leaving members without a place to worship. For the last 18 months, services have been held in the ALC building, which is connected to the West Jefferson School District Office in Terreton.
Church members are pleased with the community’s generosity in allowing them to worship there, but they’re also eager to see the new church completed.
Construction got underway the first week of January, which includes an expansion of the church’s original size. Montalvan is hoping it will be finished by the end of the year.
“I pass by every day and there’s always something (going on),” says Montalvan. “They are now pouring cement because they are expanding it three feet on each side.”
Montalvan doesn’t know the square footage of the new building, but it will include 10 more pews than the original and an aisle on each side. The thing parishioners are most excited about is an area that will be added for a confessional.
“This is a room where priests can hear confessions from parishioners,” she says. “They never had a private area for that (in the old building).”
St. Ann’s Catholic Church dates back to 1963, according to an old newspaper clipping. At that time, the region was part of the Rexburg Parish and many parishioners were having mass at home. The Mud Lake church was built to accommodate the large number of church members under one roof.
In recent years, chairs had to be set up in the back of the pews because there weren’t enough seats for those who attended. Having more pews in this building will help remedy that, Montalvan says.
Insurance will cover the cost of everything that was destroyed in the fire. Building a new church will cost an additional $250,000, Montalvan says, and church members have been working to collect funds for the project over the last year.
People throughout eastern Idaho have shown interest in the project, and many have asked how they can help. People were previously encouraged to send donations to the Idaho Falls Parish at 145 9th Street, but now there’s an official fundraiser people can get involved in.
The parish is hosting a spaghetti dinner and raffle fundraiser on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 5 p.m. Dinner is by donation and will be held inside the ALC building at 1256 East 1500 North in Terreton.
Many items have been donated for the silent auction raffle, including a Samsung 55-inch smart TV, a $100 gift card to Ron’s Tire & Motorsport in Idaho Falls, $100 gift card to Grand Peaks Prime Meats in Idaho Falls, a Milwaukee electric chain saw, a flight experience with Desert Air in Terreton and much more being added daily.
Tickets are $10, and patrons can choose which item they want a raffle ticket for.
“The goal is to raise as much money as we can to cover most of the costs,” says Montalvan. “Parishioners have been working so hard. Throughout the year; they’ve hosted events and activities to raise money for the project. They’re excited to see new people contributing and they’re hopeful (construction) will get done soon.”
The Mud Lake church is one of four Catholic congregations in the Pope St. John Paul II Parish, which consists of about 5,000 people. There are six other parishes on the eastern side of the state, according to Montalvan.
Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: EastIdahoNews.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.