Sales of an iconic German Village dessert will benefit St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, which was badly damaged by a storm last fall.

Schmidt's Sausage Haus und Restaurant will donate $1 from the sale of each cream puff toward the restoration of the German Village church's steeple, which was struck by lightning in September.

The strike caused substantial structural damage to the roof, interior and the steeple.

"That's a sweet gesture," said the Rev. Kevin Lutz, parish priest.

Geoff Schmidt, a co-owner of Schmidt's, said the church and the restaurant family share a long history.

Schmidt said his grandparents on his father's side -- George L. Schmidt and Agnes Specht -- were married in St. Mary.

The cream puffs are available at Schmidt's restaurant, 240 E. Kossuth St., and its two food trucks.

The campaign will last through April 15, the day before Easter. Schmidt said he expects to raise $10,000 for St. Mary.

"We thought it would be a nice fundraiser, give back," said Schmidt, a member of St. Mary Catholic Church in Delaware.

The German Village church, 684 S. Third St., welcomes all donations as the cost of repairs keep adding up, Lutz said.

"Nothing's cheap these days, but it's probably going to be at a couple of million (dollars) and won't go above $4 million," he said.

Lutz said the church, which has been closed since the storm, will remain shuttered for at least another year.

Photos showing progress of interior repairs are being posted at www.stmarygv.org/restoration.

A lightning strike knocked out part of the pipe organ, the elevator, clock, sound-amplification and telephone systems, Internet service and damaged the roof and interior beams and joists.

Lutz said the ceiling is being repaired, and the original artwork will be restored.

It was later learned that all of the church's stained-glass windows, which were made at a local factory, will need to be replaced. Lutz said the church is looking for a benefactor to pay for the work.

The renovation will include the return of portions of an historic pulpit.

Repairs that are not considered critical will be deferred, the priest said.

Lutz said the congregation has reached out to other St. Mary Catholic churches across the country seeking donations.

Some have been generous, while others have financial considerations of their own, he said.

Lutz said he has been pleased with response from the local community.

"St. Mary is really something that belongs to everybody in German Village," he said.

Lutz said he's optimistic and finds himself repeating a popular phrase from scripture.

"The latter glory of the temple will be greater than the former," he said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary