St. William Catholic Church parishioners continue mass after massive fire

A west Valley congregation is back together for the first time since a fire destroyed their church.

Even though they're at a new location now, the mission remains the same.

Mass on May 5 for those who attended St. William Catholic Church was very different. On May 1, a massive fire destroyed the longtime church that dated back to the '60s.

It's the place where Maria Lopez has been worshiping for decades.

"It was like 1982. We walked to that church, we made a procession from the old church to the new church. There were hundreds of people," she said.

Due to the fire, masses are being held nearby at Santa Maria de Guadalupe Mission.


Massive fire destroys Catholic church in Avondale: 'Devastating loss for the community'

A large fire broke out in the west Valley, destroying a Catholic church near 107th Avenue and Buckeye Road.

Parishioners are still finding a way to serve meals to families in need – something they did weekly before their food bank burned down.

"Thanks to Mercy House, who is down the street, they're providing a temporary place where we can go, and what we're thinking is, rather than having to deal with all the food items and where we can store them, we're going to provide, possibly, we're trying to get gift cards," said Alice Samarrik, a lifelong parishioner.

Bishop Eduardo Nevares was one of the first to arrive the morning after the fire. He says the outpouring of support and people wanting to help rebuild speaks volumes.

"This was just a beautiful example of what kind of faith community we have. Yes, it was a tradegy. Yes, it was very sad, but they were still thinking of others," he said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The church is accpeting donations that will help staff with expenses as the community works to rebuild a beloved sacred space.