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)



  1. Oh Marydon, what a heartbreak to lose your church building, but how wonderful to have your new church. It is beautiful against the gorgeous countryside. What a blessing. So glad no one was hurt in the fire. I am sure your past memories will keep safely in your heart.
    Many blessings to all, in your new church home.
    Hugs, Celestina Marie

  2. Hello Marydon, how sad about your church burning to the ground, but as you said, thank God no one was injured... and truly a miracle that many precious items survived the fire... your new church is beautiful but I am sure you will always remember the old one... love to you... Bisous... Julie Marie

  3. HI!!!
    What a great story, from ashes come rebirth!!!!
    It will be the same church as soon as you move back in, as it is the people, the flock that makes a church a church, the walls are well just stone and mortar!!!
    god bless you

  4. It's so hard to lose a piece of history like your Church. But it is the people not the Church that really make it special. Your new one is gorgeous set in the countryside like it is. Keep memories of the old one safe in your heart along with memories you will make in this one.

  5. Amen! May God bless you all MD. What a wonderful story of grace and commitment... to build again a church so deeply loved is truly a miracle.

    May God bless all of the congregation who stood firm and tall. The cross again reaches up to heaven.

    Love, Rebecca

  6. Your post gave me chills. Thank goodness no one was hurt. The new church looks beautiful, it must make it all the more special that you had to wait 4 years for it to be completed. It's also amazing the canvas and statue survived! The Lord had another plan for them!

  7. What a tragedy ! So glad it has been rebuilt !

  8. Oh Marydon how awful that your church burned years ago, it looks really beautiful now, even though it is a reconstruction. I am glad they saved the mural. How awful to loose a place of worship that you feel so comfortable in, and love to visit. Thank you for sharing your story today.


  9. It is a blessing that nobody was hurt/injured in such a terrile fire. The new pictures are just beautiful.

  10. What a moving story, I am so sorry that you lost your beloved church but very happy that you have your beautiful new one and a little of the old one too God Bless you and your beautiful new church.
    Love Gillxx

  11. From the ashes of the phoenix.....
    It IS wondrous how the painting and the statue survived without damage. Where had the congregation been celebrating mass during the interim? I'm glad you now have a new house of worship!
    hugs, Sue

  12. Gosh, that's sad that such a historical and loved building was burned. That's amazing that the mural was salvaged! And I'm so glad y'all could rebuild. May your congregation be blessed and always find God's love there.
    Have a happy Sunday my friend! :)

  13. How very sad for such a loss to your congregation and to your town, but what joy there must be now that a new church has arisen out of the ashes of the old one. God bless. Carol

  14. Marydon,
    I’m sorry for your loss, nothing will replace the years of memories and character of your beloved church. I see your congregation is strong and your new church is an exciting new beginning filled with possibilities. It certainly was a blessing the painting and the statue survived.

  15. Congratulations on the new church. I know so many are rejoicing.
    bunny hugs,

  16. Rom:8:28: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

    God has given you the strength to prevail over great loss. Perhaps your congregation has been drawn closer to each other and to God. Sometimes blessings are really disguised quite well!

  17. Marydon,
    So sad your church burned, but happy it has been rebuilt! From ashes came beauty once again!!

  18. Thank the Lord that there was no one hurt. What a blessing that it was rebuilt. It is so beautiful.

  19. A very sad story but,with a beautiful ending...May God our Father bless this wonderful house of worship...blessings

  20. How terrible to lose your church! My prayers to with you all!

  21. While it's sad to lose the old church and all of it's history how wonderful that from the ashes a new church was born. Many blessings to you and the congregation. -Jackie

  22. What a sad story to loose all of that history and your place of worship.
    I am glad your fellowship rebuilt and you now have a new church to make history in.

  23. Congratulation on the rebuilding of your church. It is so sad to loose something that had so much history. It is wonderful though that a few precious items were saved. It is such a blessing that no one was burned.

    Thank you for the birthday wishes. I do appreciate them.

    Hope you are having a great evening.


  24. I can't even imagine what it would be like to lose your church. What an amazing history it has, and what an amazing future it also has, with such a strong congregation standing behind it!

  25. That is a sad yet amazing and beautiful story. I am happy for you and your church. This is a great day. It is the start of a great future.

    Laura Goff Parham

  26. Oh how sad, Marydon. I bet alot of the parishioners were in tears. I know I would be. So sad. I am so glad that y'all were able to rebuild though. ((HUGS))
    Have a wonderful evening.

  27. So sad about your church, but I'm glad about the new one.

  28. Marydon, this post broke my heart. I am sure that while everyone is grateful for the new, you still mourn the loss of the old and beautiful church you once worshipped in.
    My daughter loved Fredrick with it's beautiful old buildings and quaint streets. They hope to move back there again some day.

  29. Hi Marydon,
    I am so sorry for the loss of your Historic Church, but also rejoice with you and your church family on this new beginning. May the Lord bless and keep you all as you take this new journey together.

  30. I am so sad about the fire, but so happy to see that is was rebuilt and to look so beautiful again.

    We had a church in our small town burn down several years ago. It was a nice old fashion church, very pretty. They built a new one in its place that is bigger, but I keep telling my Husband every time I see it that is looks like a Kroger store. Such a shame too.


  31. There is nothing worse than seeing your spiritual home burn. Thank God ours never has, but my in-laws' church burned a couple of years ago. This being a very small town, our churches are all very closely knit. I spent almost as much time in that church as I did my own. They still haven't rebuilt. They are having a problem deciding whether to build back in the same location or move to another where they can grow more easily.

  32. What a wonderful post. I'm so glad the beautiful church has been rebuilt and some of the priceless treasures were undamaged in the fire.
    Blessings for a wonderful week.

  33. That is so sad to hear but I am glad there is a happy ending. :)

  34. Hi Marydon,

    That is so sad that the church burned down, what a heartbreak to all the town.
    Lovely to hear that the new church is now in place and that you are provided for again.
    You live in a beautiful place, how pretty.


  35. Such a loss and then such a measure of combined strength to rebuild. It's difficult to leave the old behind yet it is such an uplifting feeling to know that so many worked together to press onward. Blessings to all whose dedication persevered!