St. Mary's Church
Welcome to Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Berwick, Pennsylvania, affectionately known as "St. Mary's." Our mission is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our community and to the whole world. We strive to witness to the truth with love, revealed by Christ and handed down through every age by the Catholic Church.
"All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."
The first Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (St. Mary’s) in Berwick, Pennsylvania was begun in 1902 and completed in January 1903. It was a mission church of St. Columba’s and Father Murphy provided services for the 42 parishioners.
Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church was officially chartered in Berwick in 1906, which was the year that the first resident pastor, Father John O’Donnell, was assigned. In 1915, fire destroyed the church, and a new church was completed at the same location on Mulberry Street in 1917.
The parish thrived and in 1955, a parochial school was built and staffed by the Sisters of Ss. Cyril and Methodius from Danville, Pennsylvania. A building was purchased for a new convent to house the sisters.
The number of parishioners continued to increase, and the necessity for building a new bigger church became evident. A new site was obtained, and construction of the new church was begun in March 1976, at Duval Street and Fowler Avenue. The dedication was held on May 22, 1977. A new rectory was constructed adjoining the church. In subsequent years, a Marian shrine, A picnic grove and the Way of the Cross were added to the church grounds.
In 1986, Immaculate Conception Parochial School consolidated with St. Joseph’s Parish Parochial School. The new consolidated school was known as Holy Family School. The lower grades were in the St. Mary’s building, while the upper grades were in the St. Joseph’s building. Following the opening of the local public middle school, grades 6 through 8 were eliminated at the St .Mary’s building. Realizing that grades one thru five could be accommodated at the St. Joseph’s building, plans were made to sell the St. Mary’s building on Mulberry Street to the Berwick Area School District. The sale was completed during the summer of 1992.
Plans were developed for a new parish center, consisting of CCD classrooms, a parish social hall and kitchen, and an annex area, to be built adjoining the Church. Early in 1994, the parish conducted a Capital Funds Campaign, which, with funds received from the sale of the parochial school, made construction of the new parish center possible. The ground breaking took place on May 25, 1994, and the dedication was on June 4, 1995.
The Centennial celebration of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church was celebrated October 8, 2005 with a parish banquet. Bishop Kevin Rhoades was the celebrant at the centennial Mass October 1, 2006.