Join us in celebrating our 175th Anniversary Year
Anniversary Year Calendar of Events (View Details en espanol)
Mark your calendars today to celebrate with us throughout the year. activities have been planned each month as we honor this jubilant occasion.
Celebrate the 175th Anniversary of St. Mary of the Mills by updating our Parish Directory provided by Lifetouch Professional Photographers. We are expecting 100% participation from our church family for the scheduled photo sessions that will take place at St. Mary of the Mills in the Keesler Center. Each family photographed will receive a complimentary 8x10 and a NEW Pictorial directory, once available in the Fall. Click here to learn more and schedule your photo appointment.
Celebrate the 175th Anniversary of St. Mary of the Mills with a limited edition St. Mary of the Mills Tiny Saint! This Commemorative charm was designed especially for our parish and school to help us remember (in a tiny way) all that has happened in the last 175 years.
Anniversary Rosary - order form
To help commemorate the 175th anniversary of our parish, we are offering St. Mary of the Mills Commemorative Rosaries. They are available with light blue crystal beads, dark brown oval beads, and deep blue pearlized beads. The crucifix was selected by Msgr. Mike and the centerpiece features our stained-glass window of Mary on the front and an etching of our church on the back. Quantities are limited.
The 175th Anniversary mass was held on April 22nd with His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl. Check out photos from the day here.
The 18th Annual Gala celebrating the 175th Anniversary of our Church and 125th Anniversary of our School was held on April 14th and was a great success! Thanks to all who joined us for this special occasion.
"Gracious God, you called for the establishment of St. Mary of the Mills in 1843. Through these many years, you have blest us with grace upon grace to enable this parish to reach out to those in Laurel and the surrounding communities. As we celebrate 175 years, we seek your guidance as we endeavor to share your Word, Jesus Christ. May we build upon the faith of those who have gone before us. May Mary our Mother help us to say, “Yes,” to your Son, and be His Disciples to all the nations. Let your Holy Spirit lead us in truth and holiness as we share the faith we have received. Amen."
Our parish history begins fittingly with the words written on the opening page of its first baptismal register: "Ad majorem Dei gloriam." - For God's greater glory.
Fr. James Ryder celebrated our first Mass in St. Mary's chapel on January 22, 1843. The area was known as Laurel Factory and was surrounded by the gristmill, cotton mill, button factory, and an iron works facility, hence, the name 'of the Mills' The first chapel was built from the personal expense and on the land of Dr. Theodore Jenkins and his wife, Juliana.
In the beginning there were no pastors in residence. St. Mary's had only the status of a mission of the Jesuit Community in Washington and Georgetown College. It was not until 1883 when Fr. Walker Caughy was assigned, that a rectory was built to house future pastors. He also extended the main Church in 1893 and opened up our school that is still thriving.
Throughout the next 20 years, St Mary's saw slow but steady growth. When 1911 hit, the parish was ready to have growth spurt and it was facilitated by the 2 pastors that covered half a century of St. Mary's history. Together, Fr. Joseph Myer and Fr. Hugh Breen shaped the entire structure of the Church: built the expansion, rebuilt the school, updated the rectory twice, and brought in the Pallotine Sisters.
Since then, we have seen amazing growth in our religious education program, school, ministries, and of course, our new Parish Center. Our current pastor is Msgr. Michael Mellone.