St. Teresa’s to celebrate 150th anniversary
firstname.lastname@example.org — A special mass, a procession through
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.
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.
An archway added during renovations in the 1980s shows the thickness of the Port Deposit granite walls of St Teresa’s Catholic Church.