MAYNARDVILLE, Tenn. — For Father Steven Pawelk, it's nothing short of a miracle.
His brand new church on Maynardville Highway is a far cry from the mission's humble beginnings.
"The first service was my carport, it was a BYOC--bring your own chair," he said.
For years, masses were held in a re-purposed storage unit complex that was also home to a hot dog stand.
"It's literally a strip mall. We were on the bottom floor of a storage facility right next door to a beauty salon," Robin Health, a parishioner at the church said.
But as the congregation grew, the need for space did too.
Donations from people of all faiths in Union County--not just Catholics--helped make it possible.
"When we would have a fundraiser, they donated," Heath said. "Whatever we did, they came."
And with their own hands, the congregation build their house of worship.
"We have a general contractor, but if you look around this building is built by almost all parishioners," Sally Baran, a parishioner, said.
In this new building, some relics have a long history.
A letter from Mother Teresa is among the artifacts recovered from the now closed Saint Mary's hospital.
It's displayed prominently in the lobby as a reminder of the church's namesake as it enters a new era and welcomes new faces to the pews.
"I personally sat with friends here today that are coming home, back to the church, that haven't been for a long time so it's really a blessing," Heath said.