HUBBARD, Ohio (WKBN) – Wednesday marked the first Mass at St. Patrick Church in Hubbard since Monday’s devastating fire.
Parishioners had to celebrate in the parish center because the church itself was too damaged.
“The building has been burned and it’s damaged, but you know, the heart and soul of the Parish is going to be gathering today, tomorrow and on the weekend,” said Father Michael Swierz.
Swierz says he was expecting more people than usual thinking some would be seeking community after Monday’s fire.
“When I heard the news, I grabbed my rosary and started praying. I’m glad we have this,” he said.
Swierz told the parish that they will likely be gathering in the parish center for a few months as the church is repaired. The estimated cost is $4 million.
“The church will get fixed. The people will still be here. The mission will remain the same,” said John Augustyn, parishioner.
Firefighters were able to save some of the religious artifacts that are so important to the church community.
Swierz said members of the community were able to move some of the artifacts from the church to the parish center. While parishioners wanted to clean them, he thought seeing the soot and the scars from the fire would give everyone a deeper appreciation for Holy Mass.
“I just wish we could get the cross. If you see pictures, the cross is just hanging above the altar, and it’s like the Lord just saying, ‘just walk with me now,’ and you know that is what they are doing,” Swierz said.