HUBBARD, Ohio (WKBN) — Parishioners of St. Patrick Church in Hubbard have learned what it means to be patient.

It’s been almost 23 months since the church was heavily damaged by fire.

A lot of work has gone into the building since then. The church hall kitchen was gutted and new ducts, wires and pipes have been installed. There’s wood lining the ceiling where mass is celebrated, and church lighting will soon be put up.

Fr. Michael Swierz says everything is moving right along, but that’s not to say there haven’t been a few obstacles along the way.

“There’s a plan for everything, and we just have to go with that plan for a reason why this all happened,” Swierz says. “But in a way, we found out some things that we needed to find out about the structure of the building, so it all worked out for the best.”

Barring any setbacks, Swierz is hopeful mass will be celebrated once again in the church sometime in spring 2023.

But there’s still work to do to get to that point, including finishing the roof and fixing structural issues with a wall.

“Even with the fire and the setbacks that we’ve had, it would have been easy for us to just throw in the towel and give up, but you know what? It forced us all to look and see what’s most important,” Swierz says. “It wasn’t the building, but it was all of us being together.”