Nearly a year and a half after St. Mary’s Church in Massillon was badly damaged by fire, crews are working around the clock to reopen the church to parishioners by Christmas Eve.
The fire destroyed the St. Dymphna Shrine, baptismal font and left the interior of the 140-year-old church covered with a think layer of black soot in August of 2015.
Parishioners were left without a place to worship when St. Paul’s Lutheran Church took them in.
“They’re just incredible people and we just owe them so much,” said parishioner Andrea Peters, who said the experience has helped bond the community. “They are welcome here anytime as our guest.”
Sixteen months and hundreds of hours worth of renovations later and the church is set to reopen for three masses on Christmas Eve.
“I kind of think I’m going to see a lot of people with teary eyes — so simply happy and humble to be back,” Fr. Ed Gretchko told News 5.
Christmas Eve Masses are scheduled for 5, 7 and 10 p.m. Christmas Day Masses will be at 8 and 10:30 a.m.