Flames may have destroyed the Catholic Church in a small community south of Ottawa, but those who frequented it said they're finding hope amongst the rubble.

St. Daniel's Roman Catholic Church in South Mountain, about 60 kilometres south of downtown Ottawa, burned for almost four hours Thursday before local firefighters could get it under control.

"It's been and will continue to be a long haul ahead of us, but we are optimistic we will rise from the rubble," said Father Cosmas Ajawara. "We have lost a building but not the people of God."

The church had seen its last visitors just the night before.

"Four of my five children were baptized (here)," said Steve Caza. "I was very active in this church, so was my wife. It's like family."

The materials of the building, over a hundred years old, helped accelerate the fire.

"The interior is a lot of plaster . . . built back in the 1800s," said Scott Patterson, Mountain Station fire chief. "It's very difficult to get that out of the walls once the fire gets into the walls."

The scene has a plenty of debris to be sorted through, so investigators said they don't know the cause of the fire yet.

This Sunday's service for the 80-person congregation will be held in the church's cemetery, with future services at other churches in the community.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Karen Soloman