Parishioners returned to Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church in Windsor for the first Sunday mass at the historic church since 2014.

The church opened in 1845, but closed five years ago as it was in need of some major repairs.

There was standing room only at Sunday's mass, co-celebrated by Diocese of London Bishop Ronald Fabbro.

"Well I was here five years ago when we closed the doors and it was a very sad day and to be here, to open the doors and welcome people back was just a phenomenal experience," he says.

Fabbro feels the significance of the bricks and mortar here when he speaks to parishioners who have been patient through the ups and downs of mishandled fundraising campaigns and efforts to renovate the building.

He hopes the return of mass to the church will build momentum for its restoration. "I think with us back in the church it will be a boost to us."

Some of the work started this year including the installation of the copper roof shingles and a new heating system.

For the past five years, masses have been taking place at Holy Name of Mary Church.

The next phase of the restoration project is plaster and paint so another $2.25 million will be needed.

The entire cost of the restoration project is between $14 million and $20 million.

Assumption Church is the oldest parish in Canada, west of Montreal.