Overnight storms moved out of the area Wednesday allowing light to be shed on the damage left behind at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Livingston.
“I was scared, yes. I was very much afraid,” said Father Clifton Labbe, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
It was about 4:30 Wednesday morning as Father Clifton Labbe and another pastor, Father Joseph, slept in rooms on opposite sides of this rectory. Little did they know, the night would be anything but peaceful.
“And then after that a big blast. That was the tree coming down,” Labbe said.
This pine tree, about 100 years old, crashed through just inches from where Father Joseph slept.
“We also speak of angels, guardian angels. I told Joseph, I said ‘Either the Lord had somebody to push you or your guardian angel pushed you out of bed,” Labbe said.
The ordeal , certainly a first for the two.
“Never before,” Labbe said.
And miraculously, while Father Labbe escaped unharmed, Father Joseph walked away with only minor head and neck injuries.
“This certainly could have been a very tragic accident where I could have gotten killed or both of us could have,” Labbe said.
So for at least this pastor, Sunday’s sermon will have a renewed meaning.
“It makes me realize that I really need to be well-prepared because I always preach to other people about it, I need to make sure I’m well-prepared. The only thing promised is the moment, you never know,” Labbe said.
As cleanup continues at that church, officials say the next step is to have an appraiser determine just how much that damage will cost to repair.
In the meantime, both pastors will stay in a hotel.
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