St. Mary’s Catholic Church
Address: 125 W 5th Street Mt. Carmel, IL
The earliest record of the Catholic church in Mt.Carmel dates back to 1836, when Nicholis Peter married Barbara Wirth. In those days, Mass was said in various homes by missionaries on horseback.
In 1850, several Catholic families migrated here from Germany. By the next year, they had begun work on the church. This first church, which was located where our present public high school stands now, was dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and a cornerstone was erected on August 8, 1852.
The second church was built on the south side of second street between Cherry and Pear streets. It was dedicated on July 1, 1871. In 1880 a building was bought to be used for a school for the parish children. This building sat in the area where the old tennis courts were at the current Mt.Carmel High School location. In September, the Sisters from the Adorers of the Blood of Christ began classes with forty pupils. Wirth, Peter, Kolb, Dunkel, Fearheiley, and Keepes were some of the names on the roster that year.
By the turn of the century, the community as well as the parish was growing. Fr. Buddle realized that a change in location was needed so that the school and church could be more centrally located. The cornerstone of our present church, which is located at Fifth and Chestnut Streets, was laid on March 27, 1900. A rectory, school and convent were also built at this time.
Up until this time, the cemetery that served St. Mary’s parish was the Catholic section of Sand Hill Cemetery which is located on West Third Street. In 1904, the parish bought property on North Poplar Street for a Catholic Cemetery which is used to the present day.
In 1953, our present school was built, with a new addition of two classrooms in 1990. A new rectory was built in 1958, and the old rectory was renovated and turned into a convent.
In our one-hundred and twelve years of Catholic education, both the Precious sisters of Ruma, Illinois and the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ from Donaldson, Indiana had served our school children. Presently, the Precious Blood Community is still represented at St. Mary’s School.
In 1969, in accordance with the norms set up by Vatican Council II, all parishes were asked to set up a Council whereby the laity would take an active role in managing the Parish. Along with the implementation of the Parish Council was also the inauguration of a Board of Education to regulate the matters of Catholic education in our parish. St. Mary’s parish continues to be a growing faith community seeking to be a sign of the Gospel message to all people.