The birthplace of Catholicism in Beaufort -- and the Lowcountry -- is open again after years of being shuttered. St. Peter's Catholic Church has been restored it to its former glory.
"It's just going to be nice to have life back into the corner of Beaufort," St. Peter's preservation committee chairwoman Pat Green said.
The chapel on Carteret Street was blessed during a reopening service Friday morning, presided over by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone of the Diocese of Charleston.
The building seats only about 100 people, so special invitations were sent to longtime parishioners, renovation supporters, and local priests and nuns, Green said. Others watched a simulcast across the street in the University of South Carolina Beaufort's Performing Arts Center.
"That little church, since 1846, has been a special place for a lot of people," Green said.
To accommodate those who missed the first round of tours of the building Friday afternoon, Green said the church intends to start regular tours on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays after docents are trained and informational material printed. About 25 people have volunteered to be docents.
Mass will be celebrated at the chapel at noon on Tuesdays.
The chapel already has been booked for several small weddings, and Green said it also will be used for small funerals, providing a more intimate location than the 1,200-seat church on Lady's Island.
"This little church is going to be a big, warm hug for little funerals," she said.
Renovations began last fall after about a year of planning, with local historic preservation specialist Beekman Webb leading the project. The church's crumbling foundation was repaired several years ago.
The work has been extensive and included replacing the windows with period-appropriate panes and restoration glass, replastering walls, adding new hardwood floors and ceiling, and repairing the front stoop. Green declined to say how much the restoration cost, joking it would send some people into cardiac arrest. Donors paid for the work.
In other changes about town: