St. Paul's sanctuary comes down in Pass Christian

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - The storm damaged St. Paul's sanctuary in Pass Christian is coming down. Witnesses said by Monday at noon, about a third of the building had been torn down.

Bishop Roger Morin said he instructed contractors to demolish the ruins of St. Paul Church on Scenic Drive after much prayer and consultation.

Built in its place will be a new chapel-of-ease, St. Paul Chapel.

Bishop Morin said $1 million has been set aside to build the new chapel which will seat no less than 100, and will be within the boundaries of Holy Family Parish and under the jurisdiction of the local pastor.

Bishop Morin said that Holy Family Parish pastor, Father Dennis Carver was "part of this conversation and agreed to this plan."

Bishop Morin also said that both he and diocesan Vicar General Father Dominick Fullam believe this is a reasonable plan and that diocesan representatives have done as much as they possibly can to resolve this situation.

"My heart's desire is for a spirit of Christian charity, unity and harmony as I strive to see that the Sacraments are celebrated and the Gospel is preached to the faithful of our Holy Roman Catholic Church," Bishop Morin said.

What to do with the St. Paul property has been one of Pass Christian's most contentious post-Katrina issues. After the hurricane tore through St. Paul's sanctuary, the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi determined that because of structural problems, saving the church building wasn't feasible. Several parishioners disagreed with that assessment. They launched an initiative to try and save the St. Paul site.

In November, aldermen determined that a permit to demolish St. Paul should be granted. Mayor Chipper McDermott vetoed that permit, saying he wanted to know what the church would do with the Scenic Drive property before authorizing the sanctuary's destruction. The aldermen then reversed the mayor's decision.

Supporters filed an appeal to save the building, but it wasn't enough to stop the wrecking ball.

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