When the historic St. Mark's Roman Catholic Church of Fallston reopens today as St. Mary's Assumption Eastern Rite Catholic Church in Joppa, it will be a dream come true for the Rev. Ivan Dornic and his parish of 250 members.
The group saved St. Mark's from being torn down five years ago, and with the help of three Czechoslovakian craftsmen, arranged to have it moved board by board, beam by beam, pew by pewto a new site on Route 152 near the Interstate 95 interchange.
"Sunday will be a joyous occasion," said Dornic on Friday. "We started this project in 1986. When we began taking St. Mark's down, we didn't even have a site."
Today's dedication service and special ceremonies honoring martyrs and victims of Communism will begin 11:30 a.m. at the church. A garden reception will follow.
The congregation overcame assorted money and bureaucratic obstacles to move the structure, which will become the cornerstone of a Historic Church Village, Dornic said.
"It took us more to do than we expected, but we are happy," said the 58-year-old Czechoslovakia native.
The HistoricChurch Village will be developed with four more churches on the 70 acres surrounding St. Mary's, Dornic said.