Mt. Vernon Register-News

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July 1, 2014

Church demolition to begin

MT. VERNON —Demolition of the former St. Mary Church is expected to get underway next week.

“The Pastoral Council of St. Mary Immaculate Conception Church in Mt. Vernon announces with mixed emotions that the dismantling and removal of its 1921 church building, located at Main and 14th streets, will begin shortly after July 4,” information states. “The inside bricks, wooden beams and many other materials from the building will be transported and used as finishing materials in the construction of a grand hall adjacent to St. Stephen’s on the Hill, an outdoor wedding chapel in Eldorado.”

According to the Pastoral Council, only four people in the parish expressed an interest in developing a plan for preserving the building and met with the pastor, Father John Iffert.

“He shared with them information and cost estimates that had been produced by engineers, technical architects and construction managers for the parish,” information states. “He asked (the parishioners) to produce a plan for preservation and reuse of the building that would be consistent with the parish mission and financially self-supporting. After more than two years, no plan was presented.”

The council states the decision to dismantle the 1921 church was reached after “significant time, deliberation and prayer among our parishioners and church leadership.”

“Our goal is to dismantle the 1921 church in a way that is respectful to our parishioners and the community, and to find a worthy purpose for the materials of the building.”

The new church which was completed and dedicated in January 2013, commemorates the 1921 church in its shape, brick exterior and wooden rafters, information from the church states. The Stations of the Cross, several statues and other artifacts from the former church have been moved and incorporated into the new church.

“Many of our parishioners spent most of their lives forming their Catholic faith in the 1921 church, and have a lifetime of memories connected with that building,” information from the church states. “Not everyone within our church community supports the choice to dismantle and remove the 1921 church. However, Father Iffert and the Parish Pastoral Council are confident that the majority of our parishioners are at peace with this difficult decision, and have embraced the new church building with enthusiasm.

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