St. Anne Parish is ‘Home for the Holidays’
St. Anne church and school reopen after nine months
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
November 25, 2021
DIXON—Father Timothy Draper calls the timing of a near-disaster at his parish “providential.”
On the First Sunday of Lent, Feb. 21, early morning Mass was proceeding as usual at St. Anne Church when a loud CRACK, “like a gunshot” startled everyone just as the prayers of the faithful were commencing. A parishioner who used to work for the local fire department looked up and yelled, “Everyone out – NOW!” People scattered.
If the “very visible” crack had happened in the middle of the night, Father Draper says, “we could have woken up to a collapsed roof.”
By the time he had walked around the outside of the church to reach those gathered in the narthex, his firefighter parishioner had already called an area construction company. Bob Slain, a parishioner at Dixon’s other Catholic parish — St. Patrick — “brought a group over right away,” Father Draper says, and they soon shored up the beam with a wooden support column. Speed was important — the men noted that the cracked beam “continued to talk to us” as they worked to stabilize it. 
During an inspection for insurance purposes some days later, a second beam, over the sanctuary, was discovered to also be cracking. Again Slain Construction soon had it stabilized and supported. Even so, the church could not safely be used, and St. Anne School, attached to the church and sharing a wall with it, was closed out of caution.
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