The priest said there was also some damage done to the original church, which was built in 1945 and is attached to the parish offices. The main stained glass window in the chapel above the altar was destroyed.
The original sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes was one of the oldest Catholic churches in the county.
Today- at least before the pandemic- that smaller sanctuary was used as a daily Mass chapel, with the main sanctuary located across the street. The original rectory, which dates to 1947 and is used for extra office space and storage, suffered minor damage.
Because of coronavirus restrictions, Roberts had already been celebrating all daily and Sunday Masses outdoors, in the parish's grotto, which did not suffer any damage.
Providentially, Roberts said, the Blessed Sacrament was not in the chapel tabernacle at the time of the fire. The priest had moved it to the main church building, which also was untouched.
"There is some considerable damage, but hopefully all of it repairable," he said, adding that an engineer is expected to examine the building on Wednesday.
He said the parish is working with the Diocese of Charlotte's properties office and insurance company to assess the damage. The bishop and vicar general have visited the church to lend their support, he said.
Bishop Peter Jugis of Charlotte was actually pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes until his appointment to lead the diocese in 2003, Roberts said, so the offices that burned had once been his.
The fire knocked out phone and internet access at the church, Father Roberts said. Since the parish lacks a website, Roberts has been communicating with his flock via Facebook since the fire, attempting to address rumors about the fire's cause and to reassure parishioners that the damage can be addressed.
"Lots of support, lots of promises of prayers from our parishioners, and from people all over," he said.
"One of the first questions people were asking was: Is Father okay?" he said, adding that he does not actually live on the parish campus, so the early morning fire did not threaten his safety.
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The main sanctuary had been renovated extensively in the past several years, Roberts said, so he is glad that there was no damage there.
Among the items destroyed in the fire were two ornate chalices, both with special significance for Roberts- one of them he had been given upon his ordination, and the other he had bought in Spain when he finished part of the Camino de Santiago.
Still, Roberts said when he found the ruined chalices, he felt an unusual sense of peace, as he realized that his priesthood was worth far more than these sacramental items.
"There's been this unexplainable sense of peace today...recognizing the presence of the Lord and wanting to take the next step and the step after that. It's a wonderfully supportive community here."
The North Carolina fire, though likely not arson, comes after a spate of intentional fires against church properties across the country and the world.
The Catholic community at Queen of Peace Parish in Ocala, Florida is rebuilding after the church was set on fire earlier this month and a Florida man was charged with arson.