A dream that was born a decade ago became a reality Sunday as members of St. Mary's Catholic Church worshipped for the first time in their new building.
The church was established in 1964, when the Rev. Edward Wahl, a white priest at The Oratory in Rock Hill, decided to start a Catholic mission church in the mostly black Crawford Road area. But that church, which started with just five members, soon outgrew its humble brick building.
A bigger church was needed to accommodate a growing congregation. Planning began in 1998, and in May 2004, St. Mary's began a drive to raise the $900,000 needed to build the new 7,500-square-foot worship center. Members pledged what they could afford, and the church raised money with benefit concerts, bake sales, buffet dinners and festivals. Members skilled in construction also donated time and materials to the project.
It was, as all attest, a labor of love. On Sunday, everyone in the congregation, which now is more diverse with a mix of 450 members of all races, had a place to sit -- with seats left over.
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We congratulate the clergy and members of St. Mary's for their determination in realizing the vision of a new church. And they aren't finished; they hope to start work on more improvements in five years.
But, for now, we hope they savor their new surroundings and the work of many hands that went into it.