Updated 01/30/2012 03:40 PM
Final Mass A Bittersweet Chapter For Bronx Parish
After more than a century, parishioners at St. Augustine's in the Bronx gathered for a final mass Sunday. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
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After 117 years, St. Augustine's in Morrisania had its last mass, served its final eucharist, and parishioners sang their last hymns.
It was a standing room only crowd, full of parishioners who have shared blessings, prayers, weddings and funerals.
"No spirit will oppress us that we are free and that we will continue on our journey," said one worshiper.
Three years ago, parishioners used to worship at the church on Franklin Avenue but the building fell into such a state of disrepair they had to move to the school across the street.
Last year, the Archdiocese of New York leased the school, leaving St. Augustine's 350 parishioners looking for a new home.
Luckily, they found one just a few blocks away at Our Lady of Victory Church.
"It's very important for the neighborhood, for the community, for the people in this community," said one worshiper.
"The church has been there for so long and now you know we have to give it up. But thank God, thank the lord, that we have another door open to us in Our Lady of Victory," said another.
On Sunday, hundreds of parishioners gathered to bid farewell and march on to their new house.
"We're called to be people on the move. We're called to be pilgrim people. We're called to embrace change, and what a more perfect example of embracing change then what we see today," said Reverend Tyrone Davis of the Archdiocese of New York.
"It's an exciting day, but it's also a sad day. To leave the church we've been at for so long. But I'm hopeful that we're going to have new beginnings," said Reverend Thomas Fenlon of St. Augustine Church.
Worshipers brought along remnants of their old home, and when they arrived at their new one there was a crowd there to welcome them.
The newly combined parish has been renamed Saint Augustine Our Lady of Victory Church.