April 7, 2015 // Local

Open house, tour to celebrate 175th anniversary of St. Mary

DECATUR — To celebrate their 175th anniversary St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Decatur will host an open house on Sunday, April 19, from 2-3:30 p.m. Friends, neighbors and family are invited to walk through the church and rectory as a volunteer explains church architecture, traditions and faith at each of 15 stations and answers questions.

Enter the Fourth Street doors and receive a walking tour handout.

Before entering, visitors are encouraged to look above the main doors to view the relief sculptures of St. Mary, patron saint of the church; the Visitation, left of St. Mary to St. Elizabeth, who carries St. John the Baptist in her womb; and the Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary at the right. These relief sculptures were executed first in full size clay models and then carved in Indiana limestone by Ernest B. Haswell of Cincinnati, Ohio. Inside on each side of the mosaic visitors may view relief sculptures — the Sacred Heart on the left and St. John, Apostle on the right. This relief is registered at the Smithsonian Art Museum.

After the walking tour, all are invited to meet Father Dave Voors and Deacon Jerry Kohrman in the Parish Hall and enjoy refreshments. The bookstore will be open as well.

In the spring of 1838 Father Mueller said the first Mass at the Fettick home on the corner of Third and Monroe where Century Link now stands. From 1838 to Nov. 12, 1840, Decatur was a mission. Then it was organized and named St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church.

In 1847 the first wooden frame building was erected followed by a red brick building in 1874. It was demolished in February 1949, and ground was broken for the current building in March 1952. Auxiliary Bishop Leo A Pursley laid the cornerstone on Dec. 12, 1952, and Archbishop John Francis Noll dedicated the Lannon limestone building on May 31, 1954.

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