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May 29, 2016 7:41 PM

Catholics celebrate and mourn at St. Charles last ceremony

DOVER - St. Charles church hosted its closing ceremony Sunday afternoon before it's torn down this summer, making room for a new housing development. Locals gathered outside of the church to celebrate the rich history, and allow those with a personal attachment to the building to say their goodbyes.

Praying together as a community, and mourning the end of an era, residents of Dover gathered under a tent just outside of St. Charles Church.

Making room for a new housing development, the 83-year-old church will be torn down this summer, saving only the stained-glass windows, leaving Catholics from all generations emotional and disappointed.

"I think the majority of the people that were here today representing St. Charles as a Parish were born here, baptized here, went to school at St. Charles school, were married here. I know myself, 49 years ago, and we really hate to see it come to an end," Dianne Roger said.

St. Charles merged with St. Joseph and St. Mary Parishes back in 2009 and regular Sunday services had not been held at the church since. Yet many Parishioners have fond memories of the building which had become a historical landmark in Dover.

"As soon as I found out last Sunday, I made my plane reservation to come up," Anne Durkin-Fisher said.

Fisher grew up in Dover, but now resides in Arizona. After hearing the news about St. Charles, she felt the need to come back to New Hampshire to say her last goodbyes.

"I went through the whole church for a couple hours taking pictures of everything. I have an album already made up and it's sad because it's kind of like the end for the French-Canadian community," Fisher said.

After celebrating the past, the Catholic community left the ceremony with high hopes of a bright and new beginning.

"I think they did what they thought was the right thing and the best thing. And you know, hindsight always, you think they could have done different things or you know, but it is what it is."

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