HUBBARD, Ohio (WKBN) — St. Patrick’s Church in Hubbard lost their cathedral in January to a fire — but it hasn’t diminished the parish’s spirits.

It held Christmas Eve Mass at Hubbard High School on Friday. Several hundred people filled the Hubbard High Auditorium.

“It was very special, the children sang great and I think the Bishop being present was just so meaningful for me,” said attendee Celia Hinds.

From parishioners that have been part of the St. Patrick community for 50 years to visiting family, all said it was a beautiful and moving celebration.

“I attended the St. Patrick’s school,” said congregation member David Cook.

“It’s been a tough couple of years for everyone and I think that we just needed something like this to give us that faith and hope and belief that things are going to change,” Hinds said.

“A lot of different emotions for all the people, we’re all so happy and blessed that we could be together, that the body of Christ is still here alive and strong and probably even more so than it was before the fire,” said St. Patrick’s pastor Father Michael Swierz.

Even though the congregation couldn’t celebrate Christmas in their cathedral, they brought a piece that survived the fire along with them.

“The whole nativity said that we had in the church was in the fire. It was mostly smoke damage but the heat of the fire caused those wooden figurines to split,” Swierz said.

But the church saved them and plans to have a place of honor in the new building — a symbol of resilience in difficult times.

“The people are the church. When the building burned we went through a lot of adversity with COVID and you can see just how strong the people are,” Cook said.