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St. Joseph’s will remain alive in memory

By ANDREA FURLONG

The eerie sound of splintering wood was met with silence as the walls of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Parnell, fell before a small crowd of about 12 people Tuesday, April 27. It had been 10 months since the last service was held in the church, which closed due to severely needed, but unaffordable structural improvements last June. Many of the onlookers were former parishioners who just happened to be passing by when they saw the church being razed that morning.

“We’ve all known the closing of the church and stuff was coming. I was more or less shocked that they were going to tear it down, but I think (my daughter) Haley was a little devastated when I told her, because I know she probably would have wanted to be there for that. It wasn’t really devastating to me. . . .but to see a church that you went to when you were a kid torn down like that, it just (brings back) things that you remember from going to church there and new people that you meet from going to Catechism classes,” said former parishioner Nikki Holden.

Holden, who attended St. Joseph’s from the time she was a child until it closed, said her strong ties to the church and memories compelled her to stop to watch the razing.

“It’s the church that I had went to when I was a kid. My sister was baptized there. We went to Catechism class there and my daughter went to Catechism class there when they closed,” she said.

Holden said when she thinks back to the church, she misses the close-knit congregation of about 40 members.

“It was like a big family. Everybody knew who you were and who your parents were and whatnot,” she said.

John O’Brien, another former parishioner who stopped for the church’s demolition, acknowledged that St. Joseph’s meant something even to community members who did not attend there.

“It’s more of a landmark than this is “the” Catholic church in Parnell. People just kind of give directions from it. You see the big white church on the top of the hill, you know you’re going on the correct road. In place of F52,” he said.

UPDATED May 6, 2010 11:24 AM

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