GRANTS PASS — With the swipe of a tractor scoop, demolition began July 17 on the church building at St. Anne Parish here.
“As we tear down the current church structure we honor and remember all those who built this church which has been the place of so many life events. Many have celebrated baptisms, weddings, and funerals under this roof,” Father William Holtzinger, pastor at the parish, said in a statement to the press.
The torn down church building was constructed in 1959 and has sustained the more than 1,300 families who call the parish home.
“We remember with gratitude those from our past [and] we honor them as we take up our role in building the future,” continued Father Holtzinger.
About 200 parishioners showed up to witness the beginning of the demolition work. Just as the parish prayed throughout the fundraising process, parishioners gathered again to pray in the morning before the tractors started their work.
“It was a time of both joy and sadness as we look to the future and lament the destruction of something that has meant so much to so many,” said Carolyn Trumble, pastoral associate at St. Anne, in an email.
The parish raised $3.5 million in two and a half months for the new church project, the Catholic Sentinel reported in February. The new church is expected to be completed 14 months after the groundbreaking ceremony in September. Mass will be held in the parish center until the new church opens next year.