Dozens of people gathered to take pictures and watch as an important step was taken in the ongoing effort to rebuild St. Mary’s Polish Church in Whitney Pier, N.S.

“I think it’s just spectacular,” says parishioner Anne Marie Campbell. “It’s a moment in history, in the history of our church, we’re just so proud.”

It was not long ago; parishioners watched the steeple come tumbling down when a fire levelled the century old church in November 2014.

“It was a shock,” says St. Mary’s Parish Chair Tom Urbaniak. “It is even hard to relieve that day now.”

The rebuild will cost more than $1 million.

Urbaniak says the community is resilient and quickly came together to help.

The 5,000-pound steeple was fibre-glassed by boat builders from Port Morien, while students at the Nova Scotia Community College in Sydney will be making the cross that’ll be installed at a later date.

“I think it’s not just a steeple going onto a beautiful church,” says Urbaniak. “That steeple is a symbol of so much grit, good will in the community, not just the parish community, but the broader community as well.”

It took only minutes to raise the steeple on top of the church.

Parishioners say it’s a sign their church is back together again.

“It’s really emotional,” says parishioner Anne Marie Campbell. “It’s just wonderful to see this today.”

The project has been in the planning stages for weeks, and with weather conditions cooperating, it was a historic day for everyone involved.

“It’s something that we’re going to be showing our kids, our grandkids, our great grandkids,” says project manager Howie Doiron. “Hopefully for the rest of our lives, we’ve all been a part of this and it’s something to truly be proud of.”

Parishioners are hoping to have their church reopened by spring.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.