PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - The fate of St. Paul's Catholic Church now lies in the hands of Pass Christian aldermen. Tonight, the board will decide whether to uphold a recommendation from the historical commission to let the building stand.
The Catholic Diocese of Biloxi is seeking a city permit to tear the building down. But the historical commission ruled that tearing down the church would be in conflict with a city ordinance designed to, in part, protect structures in historic districts.
Church member Gayle Parker is hoping the commission's decision will once again prevail when the Board of Alderman tackle the issue.
"We feel like the city, hopefully, will rule in favor of the Historical Preservation Commission," Parker said. "This church is over 150 years old. It's been a beacon for the people that have worked years and years ago to make a living on the water."
The Catholic Diocese of Biloxi points out that the building was constructed after the previous church was destroyed by Hurricane Camille. Now, damage from Hurricane Katrina, has left the building structurally unsound.
"It goes without saying that the Diocese of Biloxi regrets the ongoing controversy in Pass Christian," Biloxi Bishop Roger Morin said. "We remain committed to a just and equitable resolution of the matter at hand."
Parker is hoping that resolution will leave St. Paul standing.
"We feel like we need this church back for Pass Christian, because this town is centered around this church," Parker said.
The meeting will begin tonight at 6pm at the new city court building in Pass Christian. WLOX News will have a crew there, and will have details on the decision tonight on WLOX News and WLOX.com.