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Fire torches Catholic parish offices, chapel in North Carolina

A fire tore through the parish offices of a historic Catholic church in Monroe, North Carolina early Monday morning, and though the damage is extensive, the church's pastor is thankful that the blaze did not touch the main sanctuary or the Blessed Sacrament.


Father Benjamin Roberts told Catholic News Agency he arrived at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church on Monday morning, ready to celebrate daily Mass, to find the parish office building had burned to the ground.

In preaching the homily, Roberts said he sought to remind his parishioners that although the old church building was damaged, God is still present in the community of His people.

Roberts said investigators have told him that the cause of the July 28 fire is still “undetermined,” and though investigations strongly suspect that it was an accident, and not arson, they have not yet reached a conclusion, he said. No one was hurt.

“I was relieved to hear that there was no evidence of arson or anything else. We hadn’t had any threats, but there have been so many arsons throughout the country and throughout the world, so that was a grave concern for me,” Roberts told CNA, referring to attacks against Catholic churches and statues in recent weeks.

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