St. Mary's last mass ends era of worship - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

St. Mary's last mass ends era of worship


DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Tuesday night marked the end to the 157-year history of Saint Mary's Catholic Church in Dubuque. Last summer the parish council decided the church needed to close because of financial problems. Tuesday, Archbishop Jerome Hanus lead the final mass at St. Mary's.

As hundreds of people file into St. Mary's Catholic Church in Dubuque. It's a bittersweet moment for many.

"I wanted to be here but I didn't you know. It's like going to a funeral," lifelong parishioner Mark Ernsdorff said.

Tuesday marked the final mass inside this historic downtown parish. Bringing an end to worship here.

"It's a time of grief and a time of mourning but also a time to look at the past and remember all that's been accomplished," Ernsdorff said.

During the final mass parishioners, both past and present, celebrated memories. Memories Mike Ernsdorff said he'll never forget.

"And they'll be here forever. You know we've had burials, and marriages and baptisms and my family, all my family, kids you know," Ernsdorff said.

After communion came a ritual of remembering, blessing the reconciliation room, baptismal font, ambo, altar and several other important parts of the church.

"We were concluding the ordinary life of the church so we were thanking god for all that's been accomplished here," Archbishop Jerome Hanus said.

It's another memory; a moment in history. As hundreds stepped outside after the final mass, they said the faith will keep moving forward. And the history never forgotten.

"The young love, the true love who come from afar," Loretta Danaher sang. "St. Mary's will always be a part of our hearts."

According to the Archbishop St. Mary's is still a church. But it's no longer a parish of the Archdioceses of Dubuque. Tuesday was a celebration and ending. The future of the building is unknown.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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