A decades old Jackson church may be closing - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

A decades old Jackson church may be closing

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A church with decades of history in the capital city may soon close its doors.   Even though its members have been told why, at least one is wondering if there's something more to the story. 

St. Mary's Catholic Church was built sixty years ago, of stone and steel, with marble imported from Italy. It was also built on Yazoo clay, which anyone in Jackson would tell you is prone to shifting.  

Cracks around the structure's stained-glass windows show what's taken place over time.   That's what parishioners say the Catholic Diocese of Jackson told them was the reason to close St. Mary's doors for good.  

"The monsignor even told us they are very concerned and wanted to know how we as parents would feel if plaster from the ceiling would fall and seriously injure a child," church member Erin MaKinster said.  

MaKinster said a foundation crack, for example, has been there for thirty years.  

"They have had absolutely no one come in and actually determine that our building is unsafe," MaKinster said, referring to the diocese.  

The diocese says it'll cost up to $2 million to fix these issues, which they're not prepared to spend. MaKinster thinks there could be other motivations for the decision.  

"Really throughout the entire state, the Catholic churches are struggling, and what it seems at this point is that St. Mary's is going to be sacrificed in order to help sustain St. Therese's," MaKinster said.  

St. Therese's financial condition isn't known, but members say the facility's school will close this year due to low enrollment. Now if St. Mary's closes, the funds associated with that parish would go to St. Therese's.  

"We want to have something in front of us that says this church is unsafe and you do not have the money to fix it," MaKinster said. "Then allow us to cry over our church and walk away. But give us the chance to look at it."

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