Greendale church floods during Holy Week after sump pump fails

GREENDALE, Wis. - St. Alphonsus Parish in Greendale is dealing with disaster during Holy Week after its sump pump failed, flooding the church.

Normally, you would hear the church choir practicing ahead of Easter services. Instead, a different kind of hum fills the hall.

"I had a moment of – just kind of shock," said Pastor Kevin McManaman.

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The church said the pump malfunctioned Monday night, and a quarter-inch of water covered the entire bowl of the church – right up to the edges of the aisle ramps. It was determined that the control box, which tells the pump to turn on and off, failed; it never turned on during the heavy rain.

"The question was, then running through my mind – are we going to have to move to our community room or hall?" he said.

<div>Sump pump fails at St. Alphonsus Parish, Greendale</div>
Sump pump fails at St. Alphonsus Parish, Greendale

The church has faced the question once before. Mass was moved out for months after smoke from a 2011 Christmas morning fire damaged the building.

"We had a fire before Christmas, now we had a flood right before the sacred Paschal Triduum," said McManaman.

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McManaman said St. Alphonsus replaced a lot after the fire. He said Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday won't be impacted by the water damage – and credits contractors and volunteers who rushed to the church within hours after water gushed, but believes they didn't do it alone.

"Certainly, the fact that we really escaped and no serious damage that we can tell so far is also the work of the Lord," he said.