Tuesday, January 15, 2019

St. Sebastian Demolition

After years of fighting for preservation and transfer of ownership by the community, the demolition of St. Sebastian in Bismark is nearly complete. What a sad and needless loss of yet another Catholic church, and a very historical one at that. One of the oldest in the Diocese, predating the Civil War by decades.

I've heard from some people that the bell tower may remain, but this is only hearsay. The stained glass, pews, paintings, and other objects from the church have been saved by the community, hopefully to be reused in some way. The organ was moved to another Catholic church in Ohio.

I took this picture just a few weeks ago.

Once the crews are done at St. Sebastian, they will head over to Reed Assumption to do the same. 

See this page in the Norwalk Reflector for some pictures of the demolition:   


With the way things are going, it's only going to get worse. If this irks you, step up and fight for preservation in your communities!


Unknown said...

This is always such a sad situation, and I have long wondered why the Diocese continues to opt for the demolition of these churches as opposed to turning them over to Parish families and communities for preservation, especially when these communities are often even willing to buy the properties at a fair price.

Furthermore, why does the Diocese sometimes arbitrarily allow for the preservation of shuttered churches to remain as museums/heritage centers, such as at St. Joseph in Salem Township (closed in 2005)? Why is this evidently not considered an option for the above churches as well?

Alex Fries said...

Mason, I wish I knew the answers. There are a lot of politics going on. In the case of St. Sebastian's, the money and support was there and ready to take over care of the building, but the diocese refused every offer. They even appealed to the Vatican but they in the end refused to hear the case.

The support for Reed Assumption, as I understand, was not as strong as St. Sebastian, but nonetheless this whole situation (and literally every one of these situations) could have been handled much better from the beginning. The dioceses of the US are neglectful in so many ways, and in so many levels, and operate with near zero accountability.