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Dedication of Watervliet church
WATERVLIET -- One church comes down and another is consecrated. As crews deconstruct the bell tower of the old st. Patrick's church in Watervliet, a pre-existing parish moves in to a nearby building which had been empty for years.
"This building was boarded up it was basically an eyesore," said parishioner Rosemary Patnode.
Officially dedicated Saturday, St. Ann's Maronite Catholic church made a pilgrimage from Troy to Third Avenue in Watervliet.
"The presence of the living God is in the human heart, but we also need a place to gather as Christians, and so we dedicate the places we gather," said Bishop Gregory Mansour.
It's blocks from St. Patrick's Church, now being taken down for a shopping center. St. Ann's is 150 years old. Fifty of them it was empty. "It was always intended to be a church and it will remain a church," Patnode said.
Parishioners at St. Ann's believe restoring this church has just as much to do with the community as it does with their parish community.
"I think it has helped if nothing else beautify the neighborhood," Patnode said. "I think it has become a focal point. We've had a lot of people come by and tell us they're glad we're here."
This is a Maronite Catholic Church, with a slightly different Mass than the one offered at Roman Catholic St. Patrick's. "Some of those parishioners have discovered us and have joined our parish," Patnode said.
"This particular church started in the basement of one of the parishioners and the priest was sent here so the church changes," Bishop Mansour said. "What's essential is the people."
The people made the difference in bringing this church back to life, according to the congregation, like the Knights of Columbus who donated money to the church.
Mass had been celebrated at St. Ann's since November. Renovations began in 2004.
St. Patrick's church nearby celebrated its final mass in 2011 after several parishes in Watervliet and Green Island merged.