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 started our first service 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 our new Parish Center. Our current pastor is Fr. Anthony Lickteig.