MELROSE -- The demolition of St. Mary's Church in Melrose marks an end of one chapter and the start of another for parishioners.

While the historic church comes down, a new church is currently under construction.

Kurt Schwieters is the Chair of the Communications Committee for St. Mary's. In an email, he says the last four years have been a roller coaster of emotions.

Our parish suffered a deep wound. Our beautiful church building was struck by a terrible fire. This fire and the struggle since then has caused deep pain in all of us.

He says for about a year they looked at all possibilities to restore it, before finally having to move forward with Bishop Kettler's decision to rebuild back in 2017.

Bishop Kettler was clear that his decision stood firm. The Parish Council was then committed to move forward to build a new, beautiful, sacred and functional church.

Schwieters says they broke ground on the new church roughly a year ago and expect to wrap up construction this winter.

He says the church will have several new updated features, while incorporating a few times from the old church.

We have worked tirelessly and with conviction to bring many items from our former church structure to the new church. This will include the Stained Glass Windows, the Stations of the Cross, the Tabernacle, the bells and the Rose Window.

Schwieters says over the year's they've overcome many challenges, but with the parishioners support and commitment we able to come together for this project.

Over the past four years, hundreds of parishioners have been involved in the complicated and integrate process of the many phases of this transition.

The construction cost for the new church is roughly $10.7-million with some of that cost covered by insurance money from the fire.

Schwieters says parishioners are currently working on planning the dedication mass and how the coronavirus may play a role in how the new church opens.

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