||St. Cecilia Parish in Wisconsin Dells held its final Mass in the church building pictured above on Sunday, May 17. The “Roots in Faith” banners signify the celebration that took place on that day. The more than 113-year-old building is set to be deconstructed to make way for a new church building. To view or purchase photos, go to madisoncatholicherald.smugmug.com (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)
WISCONSIN DELLS -- Much like Jesus’ Ascension into heaven -- celebrated on Sunday, May 17 -- the 5 p.m. Mass at St. Cecilia Church on that day was more than an ending, it was the beginning of a new journey.
After more than 113 years of Sunday Masses; daily Masses; First Communion, wedding, and funeral Masses; and other Masses in between, Pastor Fr. Eric Sternberg celebrated the final Mass at the soon-to-be deconstructed St. Cecilia Church, making the way for a new church building -- a project more than a decade in the making.
The new church will hold more than 1,000 people and will be built on the same site as the old church building at 603 Oak St.
The current church, built in 1902, can accommodate 350 people.
On busy summer weekends in Wisconsin Dells, St. Cecilia has up to 1,000 people attending Mass.
To accommodate the increased numbers, the parish offers three weekend services, including holding Mass in the former school gym across the street which was converted to a summer chapel.
All services will continue in the Parish Center chapel during construction.
‘Roots in Faith’
The final Mass and celebration that followed was called “Roots in Faith,” signifying the close Catholic community that has been formed in the past century-plus in Wisconsin Dells.
The church began filling up more than an hour before Mass, as many in the community wanted to be a part of the event.
Many people who came early took photos to remember how the “old place” looked.