HUBBARD, Ohio (WKBN) – At Hubbard’s St. Patrick Catholic Church, Tuesday was a night to remember a fire that one year ago damaged the church to a point where it’s still a long way from reopening.

About 160 parishioners held candles outside the main doors of the church, surrounded by the snow. They prayed and were thankful for a lot of things, but specifically that the parish has remained intact, maybe even spiritually closer than before.

“Last year at this time, we stood out in the parking lot watching smoke billowing out of our church,” said Father Michael Swierz.

“It’s a mess,” said parishioner Brad Williamson.

Before the service, parishioner Kathy Marshall joined Williamson to look inside where, except for the stained glass windows, there were no signs it was ever a church. It’s filled with scaffolding. A large section of the floor, under which the fire started, has been removed, leaving a gaping hole where the altar once stood.

“Being a member for 66 years, it breaks your heart,” Marshall said.

Williamson was inside the day after the fire. He said the church smelled awful.

“Now I notice that there’s no odor. That was my biggest fear, getting rid of that odor,” Williamson said.

“Well, the church is slowly coming around,” Father Swierz said.

Father Swierz was hoping repairs would take a year. Now?

“Only God knows. Probably a year, maybe a little bit more than that,” he said.

Father Swierz says the rebuilding has been plagued by labor shortages, supply issues and unforeseen problems.

“Like the back wall with the mosaic, it had cracks in it so they took that down and that meant the whole back wall here had to come down as well,” Father Swierz said.

From the church, the parishioners walked the sidewalk to the social hall, where a Mass was held and where Mass has been held since the fire.

“We’ve stayed together as a parish, continuing all the ministries that are there. In a sense, it’s like nothing even happened because we’re still the family unit we always were,” Marshall said.

Father Swierz said the entire roof of St. Patrick Church must still be removed. Once the entire project is finished, he said there will be a few subtle differences but for the most part, the church will look like it did before the fire.