St. Teresa’s to cel­e­brate 150th an­niver­sary

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com — A spe­cial mass, a pro­ces­sion through

PORT DE­POSIT

town and a lun­cheon is how the con­gre­ga­tion of St. Te- resa of Avila will cel­e­brate its 150th year.

The Rev. Fran­cis Malooly, bishop of the Catholic Dio­cese of Wilm­ing­ton, will be among the cel­e­brants at the 10 a.m. mass July 17 at the his­toric church lo­cated at 162 N. Main St.

Once the mass is com­pleted, the con­gre­ga­tion and the pub­lic is in­vited to join in a pro­ces­sional from the church to The Car­riage House at 80 S. Main St. for a lun­cheon cel­e­bra­tion. Driv­ers should be aware that the con­gre­ga­tion has ob­tained a per­mit to shut down Main Street for the pro­ces­sion.

Re­nee LeBrun, or­ga­nizer of the 150th cel­e­bra­tion, said the ser­vice would in­clude spe­cial choir mu­sic and read­ings.

“The bishop will do the homily on the scrip­ture of the day,” LeBrun said, adding he will likely com­ment on the re­la­tion­ship of the saint to the church and the com­mu­nity.

The Knights of Columbus Coun­cil 2002 will pro­vide a color guard as well.

JoAnne Bierly was born and raised in the church as were many who plan to at­tend the cel­e­bra­tion. Only 160 free tick­ets were printed.

“Many of the tick­ets for seats at the Mass were re­quested by folks who were mar­ried at St. Teresa’s long ago and want to be part of the cel­e­bra­tion,” she said.

Built in 1866, St. Teresa’s was the first Catholic par­ish to be built in Ce­cil County by the dio­cese, Bierly said. Walk­ing through the aisles of an­tique oak pews, she re­called a time long ago when the men would en­ter the church from one door, the women from another, and blacks would en­ter from a third door. She also re­mem­bered when the al­tar of the church had the priest turn­ing his back to the con­gre­ga­tion and con­duct­ing the ser­vices in Latin.

“Early in the 1980s, it was sched­uled for clos­ing,” Bierly said, not­ing the eco­nomic down­turn cre­ated a huge drop in at­ten­dance. “Hazel Pat­ter­son, who was the or­gan­ist here, formed a guild called ‘Friends of St. Teresa.’”

Ac­cord­ing to Bierly, Pat­ter­son and the guild “got peo­ple back in the pews.”

“She was in­stru­men­tal in get­ting grants,” Bierly said, not­ing they re­stored the struc­ture with its thick Port De­posit gran­ite walls.

The Sun­day cel­e­bra­tion will be wo­ven into the reg­u­lar Sun­day sched­ule for the con­gre­ga­tion, which in­cludes St. Agnes Catholic Church in Ris­ing Sun and Good Shep­herd in Per­ryville. Fa­ther Jay McKee will also be at each ser­vice.

Be­cause park­ing near the church is at a pre­mium, other ar­range­ments have been made.

“The Car­riage House Trol­ley will pro­vide a shut­tle,” Bierly said. The shut­tle will pick up and drop off peo­ple at the des­ig­nated lots. The few park­ing spa­ces next to the church will be re­served for hand­i­capped and el­derly parishioners. Those who choose not to be part of the 0.7-mile pro­ces­sional can ride the trol­ley to the car­riage house.

Bierly said the church shares a park­ing lot with Bethel African Methodist Epis­co­pal Church since St. Teresa’s typ­i­cally wor­ships at 8 a.m. and Bethel’s ser­vices be­gin at 11.

“We’re hold­ing the up­per lot for Bethel,” Bierly said.

Any­one wish­ing to at­tend the mass should call LeBrun at 410-441-1892. No ticket is needed to at­tend the lun­cheon.

Dur­ing the meal, there will also be speeches about the church and a slideshow pre­sen­ta­tion as well as mu­sic and danc­ing.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

While av­er­age at­ten­dance each Sun­day is around 100, mem­bers of St Teresa’s Catholic Church in Port De­posit are ex­pect­ing to wel­come 160 into their sanc­tu­ary this Sun­day for a 150th An­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

An arch­way added dur­ing ren­o­va­tions in the 1980s shows the thick­ness of the Port De­posit gran­ite walls of St Teresa’s Catholic Church.

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