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Iowa church blesses Missouri River in Sunday ceremony

Published: Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 12:14 p.m. CDT

SIOUX CITY (AP) — The Missouri River has received a special blessing from an Iowa church that hopes the ceremony will make the river holy and reduce flooding and drought.

The Sioux City Journal reports Father Lucas Rice led a group of congregants from St. Thomas Orthodox Church in Sioux City in the ceremony on Sunday.

In 2012, communities all along the river in Iowa and Nebraska experienced severe drought. The year before, flooding along the Missouri caused widespread damage.

Rice says he hopes the blessing will make the river healthy.

The ceremony held at the foot of a boat ramp is also part of the Orthodox tradition of celebrating Jesus Christ’s baptism.

But Sunday’s ceremony marked the first time the Sioux City church that was formed in 1916 blessed the Missouri River.

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