Saturday, October 17, 2009
~ Our Church Is On Fire ...... ~
On June 4, 2004, our beautiful historic church burned to the ground ... St Peter's Catholic Church. As the news spread across every radio & television, I sat & cried.
The first two photos are of our new church. She is nestled amongst the gorgeous countryside.
The corner of this present day brick church (above pic 3,4, 5) was laid in 1869 & dedicated in 1871; $15,000.00 was donated by James Coale for construction. The history of our church in Libertytown, MD. is rich. The first stone church (prior to this structure) was erected where St. Peter's statue now stands ... the Coale family donated this land.
The fire occurred during the final phases of steeple reconstruction. The fire spread quickly thru the steeple & then throughout the church after the burning steeple collapsed onto the tar paper covered roof. Oh, how this old steeple stood so elegantly against the countryside, peeking thru the trees. It was such a beauty that we enjoyed every time we came down thru town.
The firefighters valiant efforts saved a portion of the old church ... the front facade & steeple would be retained & serve as the arthitectural model for the new St. Peter's church. We are still greeted by the old facade that leads to a private chapel.
Fr. John Dietzenbach & another gentleman were able to save vestments & the Eucharist from the church just as its new steeple collapsed. People stood in disbelief & shock ... unable to phathom what occurred.
What a blessing that an 8 x 12 foot mural was salvaged ... an art conservator separated the 100+ years old painting's wooden frame from the tattered canvas. The mural depicts the crucifixion scene with Mary, Jesus & St. John the Apostle ... it hung on the wall behind the altar. The wood was wet, but the canvas was not. This has been described as 'miraculous'. It took months for this restoration. Also, a statue of the Virgin Mary cradling the baby Jesus (above) remained intact after the 4-alarm blaze consumed nearly everyting else in the building.
RISING AGAIN ~ In Sept. of this year, our new church was dedicated. Fr. John said 'four years ago we gathered here with tears of sorrow ... today, we gather with tears of joy.' The bagpipes greeted all ..... in celebration.
As we come down the country roads, we still look at the church with her new stately steeples over the beautiful new church which are awesome, but remember the grace & beauty, longing for the old.
I thank God every day that no one was injured & our church has risen ......
(Also excerpts from our church history & Frederick News Post)
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