Crucial vote looms on St. Paul's Catholic Church

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - By Jeff Lawson – bio | email

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - The battle to get Pass Christian's St. Paul Catholic Church opened again faces a major hurdle Wednesday night. That's when the city's Historical Preservation Committee will vote on a request from the Catholic Dioceses to tear the church down.

Looking inside St. Paul's, it's sad to see what is and to think about what it was. The once vibrant church is now just a shell. For so many St. Paul families, it hurts to see the state their church is in now.

Although the current building has only been there since the 1970s, there has been a church on the site since 1844.

"How can anybody think they are doing something good by demolishing a church like this?" asked Dr. Frank Schmidt, who is the third generation in his family to attend St. Paul's.

Since the beginning, Schmidt has been leading the effort to reopen the church.

At times, there have been some pretty harsh accusations made against the Diocese and the church's priest, Father Dennis Carver. When asked if this was personal or not, Dr. Schmidt denied that, but instead called it "factual."

The Save St. Paul's group has been fighting this battle for three and a half years now. Wednesday evening it all comes to a head, when the Historical Preservation Committee votes on the Diocese request to tear St. Paul's down.

"I'm kind of worried," Dr. Schmidt admitted.

However, he went on to say he thinks there are a lot of reasonable people in the city and they recognize that the church has been a part of the city of Pass Christian for a long time.

A member of that committee, who wishes to remain anonymous, told WLOX News that they are confident the committee will vote to deny the request to demolish St. Paul's. Dr. Frank Schmidt certainly hopes that's the case, but even if it isn't, he said his group will keep fighting.

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