St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in German Village is closed indefinitely after severe storm damage in late September.

St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in German Village is closed indefinitely after severe storm damage in late September.

Church officials said they did not have a solid timeline for repairs.

For the time being, weekend Masses at St. Mary, 684 S. Third St., will be temporally relocated to the adjacent St. Mary Catholic School gymnasium and weekday Masses will be held in the church's chapel. The school is still open.

Assessments to determine the time frame and cost for repairs are underway.

A lightning strike occurred Sept. 25. It hit the stainless-steel cross at the top of the spire.

On Oct. 7, after an inspection of the church building by structural engineers, it was determined that roof-truss joints were in significant need of repair and the church will temporarily close until the renovations are made, said George Jones, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Columbus.

Concerns about the section of the structure had been identified as part of the church's ongoing maintenance plan, but the issues were determined to have become more acute, accelerating the deterioration.

While engineers are still completing their review, it is believed the lightning strike caused vibration throughout the structure that worsened the deterioration, Jones said.

Frank Wickham, a longtime St. Mary parishioner and volunteer, said the lightning strike knocked out part of the pipe organ, elevator, clock, sound-amplification and telephone systems, and Internet service.

Last week structural engineers found additional damage to the roof, which already was in disrepair.

Engineers had visited the property several times by late last week and found other significant issues, Wickham said.

"It is going to cost a lot" to repair, he said.

"We do have a lot of things we need to have done. I'm sure we're going to have to have a major capital fund drive."

Wickham and the Rev. Kevin Lutz, the parish priest, spoke to ThisWeek in February about their desire to update the church, which celebrated its 150th anniversary last year. Its last significant upgrade was in 1987.

Concert canceled

The United German Singing Society's fall show, slated for 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, in the church has been canceled.

Kathleen Megown, vice president of the Germania Singing und Sport Society's damenchor, one of the five choruses scheduled to sing, said there wasn't time to schedule another venue for the performance.

gseman@dispatch.com

@ThisWeekGary