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San Jose Church to be demolished, parish future uncertain

San Jose Church has been declared unsalvageable and will be demolished Monday.

The church has served the lower valley for more than a century and many parishioners were sad to see it go.

“Our mothers, our fathers, everybody here is sad because it’s our church,” said Jenny De La Luz.

But the years have taken their toll on the old adobe building.

“The train pass every day, so there were cracks all over the church,” explained Mary Gonzalez, another parishioner.

The damage has been so extensive the congregation has had to celebrate Mass in the parish hall next door, waiting to see what will happen to their temple.

“It would cost too much to repair it, it would be cheaper to build a new one,” said parish priest Jose Alcocer.

The parishioners don’t want to lose their community and have fundraised more than a million dollars, hoping to raise a new temple over the old one

“We want our own church. It’s only 175-200 people but it’s still our church,” said De La Luz.

It’s not just about building costs, Bishop Seitz said there is a lot to be taken into consideration before knowing what will happen with the parish

“We do have a shortage of priests right now, so that makes the situation a little more complicated,” Seitz said, outlining just one of the problems.

Many faithful fear they’ll be forced to move to other communities after their old church is torn down, but Bishop Seitz says there is still hope

“It doesn’t mean an end for the parish,” he said.

He said the diocese still needs to look at all of their options before deciding the future of this small congregation, but for now they’ll stay where they have gone for generations.

“As long as I’m here we will keep celebrating Mass in the hall,” said Alcocer.

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