CORNING - The congregation at St. Mary’s Church in Corning has integrated well since St. Vincent De Paul’s Catholic Church closed for good in September and the two congregations merged together.

“The congregation has responded masterfully, beautifully,” said St. Mary’s Priest Matthew Jones. “They’ve responded generously with great maturity and great wisdom. Having had to make that decision (to move) so early on, which could be a priest’s worst nightmare, it was made so easy by their reassurance and understanding.”

St. Vincent’s was slated for closure after a wooden beam fell from the ceiling and almost hit several people in the congregation back in June 2018. Officials determined afterward that the structural integrity of the church was worsening.

St. Vincent’s congregation came together with the congregation of St. Mary’s following the closure of the church.

“Many have told me, that just in the last six months they’ve felt like it’s one parish,” said Jones.

A new, approximately 85-space parking lot has been under construction for several months next to St. Mary’s at the site of the old convent building that was torn down in December of 2017. That parking lot will be put to its first use during mass today, providing new space to park for St. Mary’s nearly 1,000 parishioners between four masses during the weekends.

“The parking lot is a necessary piece to be able to safely and securely house all the congregates,” said Jones.

The new lot was funded through the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester and  “the generosity of parishioners past and present” through donations to the Parish Building Fund, said Jones.

Jones will be one of the priests present during the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester’s annual convocation Monday through Wednesday at the Corning Radisson. Jones said parishioners are invited to a Mass at 5 p.m. Tuesday at St. Mary’s to be held with Rochester Diocese Bishop Salvatore Ronald Matano.

These are some of the latest developments with St. Mary's as it continues forth with its newly united congregation. St. Mary’s Church is a part of the All Saints Parish.

As of Oct. 2018, the proposed $21 million reuse of the St. Vincent’s Church site is currently on hold. Officials said the project will likely be delayed until 2019 or 2020.