Community Fights to Save St. Mary’s Catholic Church with Fundraiser

Last month, St. Mary鈥檚 joyfully celebrated 175 years of its establishment and now parishioners are filled with dismay because their cherished church is at risk of being dismissed and demolished. Parishioners are raising money to prevent this peril from becoming a permanent reality.

History of the Church

In 1848, Father John Ryan, a member of the Roman Catholic Society of Jesus at St. John鈥檚 College, established a sanctuary for fellow believers in Christ, immigrants, and those in need. He helped individuals seeking refuge or renewal to obtain salvation and further strengthen their relationship with the Lord. Patrick Keely designed the church in its early stages. Later, Lawrence J. O鈥機onnor  adopted the Richardsonian Romanesque  style amid the introduction of Immaculate Conception. 

St. Mary鈥檚 Church earned recognition as one of the first Catholic parishes to embrace Immaculate Conception: the belief that the Virgin Mary was free from sin upon conception. Immaculate Conception is one of the four Marian Dogmas (Mother of God, Immaculate Conception, Perpetual Virginity, and Assumption) of the Catholic Church, significantly transforming the meaning of sin, salvation, and authority in the doctrine. 

Financial Hardships

Over time, St. Mary鈥檚 Church grew into a notable and nourishing landmark; a symbol of faith, culture, and unity. However, their profound history across generations isn鈥檛 enough to prevent decay and the possibility of a shutdown, particularly in covering church repairs that amount to $10 million. Parishioners refuse to allow the church鈥攖heir beloved place of worship鈥攖o face such a demise, especially without a fight.

Despite the odds, parishioners believe that they deserve a chance to try to save the church, and the community is ready to fight alongside them. 

The Fundraising

St. Mary's Church
St. Mary’s Church – credit: Adele Khader

To gather more resources, financial and moral support, and raise awareness to mitigate the risk of closure, the parishioners and community created a petition. Currently, 2,152 people have signed the petition. Every day, another signature and helping hand contribute to maintaining the history, heart, and spirit of St. Mary鈥檚 Church.

Considering the town hall meeting on Wednesday, the efforts of the parishioners and the community have not been in vain. As agreed in the meeting, there will be no decree to close the church, effective July 1st, 2024; a plan is in the works to raise money for repairs, and the parishioners and the community will come together to use each other鈥檚 work experience and skills (e.g., engineering and architecture) to keep the church afloat for the time being.

Supporters of the petition and church will continue to strive for the advancement of St. Mary鈥檚 Church until they receive a decision from the cardinal representatives.

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