Final Farewell to St. Mary's Sanctuary

Ashes... Soot... Pieces of what was left of Saint Mary's Sanctuary brought out a crowd this evening at the church. The clergy invited the congregation to pay their last respects to their place of worship before it's torn down.

NewsChannel 10's Marissa Bagg joins us live in the news center with how visiting the destroyed sanctuary is helping people cope. Seeing what the fire that ripped through the Sanctuary in February left behind, was tough to stomach. Still hundreds came out to see it for themselves in hopes of moving on.

"It's very hard, touching, it brought tears to my eyes, the church is in our heart, but to see the structure we were married in and our children were baptized in is really hard," says Faye Wilhelm.

It's like a grieving process that we're able to see it and touch it and experience it," says Linda Doer fler.

Where beams once stood, now is open sky... Where pews were built, now piles of rubble. Soon a new sanctuary will rise in it's place... But today people are remembering what once was.

"I use to look at those beams how beautiful they were, and concentrate and pray, and to see them is so sad, burnt and tarnished on the ground," says Doerfler, a lifetime church member.

"The pipes, there is no evidence of them, they were consumed, the windows are gone there is a piece of the piano on the floor," says Cherie Clifton, a member since 1980.

This blaze swept through the structure February 26th, after an overheated lamp ignited the fire. Leaning on one another seems to ease the pain. Many took comfort in taking home a piece of the past.

"This is one of the stations of the cross, it's one of the last ones and Monsenior Waldo took it off the wall and gave it to me, it's a remembrance of the church, not a souvenir but a remembrance," says Doerfler.

"There are sad people and there are those that are crying but we will rise from this," says Clifton.

The Sanctuary will be torn down soon, although there is no set date for that yet.