ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
A postcard of St. Mary's Star of the Sea Church in 1895
Our Star of the Sea Parish Church (Est. 2010)
Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in 1928
OLSS School in 1933
Catholicism in the United States has its roots here in Southern Maryland. The ships Ark and Dove brought Roman Catholics from England in 1634 to avoid religious oppression. They landed on St. Clement’s Island off of what is now called Colton’s Point in St. Mary’s County. The Jesuits among them set up missions there. One of those early Jesuit missionaries, Father Andrew White, took up residence in 1639 along the Patuxent River bank, on the shores of Calvert County, attempting to convert members of the Patuxent Indian tribe.
Throughout the colonial period of Calvert County, the people suffered from many hardships. The lowlands of the Patuxent River harbored malaria-causing mosquitoes. In 1696, records show that a malaria epidemic spread throughout Calvert County. The death toll was high and the Jesuit priests took care of the sick and administered last rites. In 1784, John Carroll became Prefect Apostolic of the 13 states. In 1789, he was appointed Bishop of the newly established See of Baltimore, with a diocese covering 25,000 Catholics. When Commodore Joshua Barney
In 1920, Fr. Maurice Alexander became the first resident pastor to a congregation with cash on hand of $40. With the support of Washington’s first Archbishop, Fr. Alexander began an appeal to friends and more affluent parishes for financial resources. The success of this appeal enabled him to begin purchasing land and in 1927 the church was moved from the cemetery site to Clara’s Point, approximately where the present school stands today. In May 1927, the cornerstone of a new church was laid. When the church was dedicated in 1928, its steeple gave watermen a new mark to use for location of oyster bars on the Patuxent River. The School was opened in 1933 and was run by the Sisters of Divine Providence, based in Kentucky. Classes were originally held in the church basement. An extension was added to the school in 1992. As years passed and the area saw an increase in population, the church could not accommodate the growing number of people who came to Masses, and services were held in the Providence Room in the School. Our Parish continues to grow and flourish. In 2010, the new Parish Church was built.
In 1888, with less than 100 Catholics in Calvert County, a Parish was established in Solomons Island by Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore. Jesuit priests traveled there to minister to the people, celebrating Mass periodically in the homes of local Catholics. As people migrated to this area, Catholicism began to grow. In 1895, the first church, called St. Mary’s, was built on Sedwick Avenue, where the present cemetery is. Priests from Benedict served the Catholic community there, often traveling on horseback or boat. In 1904 the church in Solomons was listed as Our Lady Star of the Sea Church rather than its former name, St. Mary’s.
Our Star Star of the Sea Church in 1939
drew his map of the mouth of the Patuxent River in 1814, he designated the island as Somerville Island; later known as Johnson's Island. In 1867, Captain Isaac Solomon became its first permanent settler. Many of the island families originally came from the Eastern Shore to work in a newly established oyster-canning factory. The oysters of Solomons and Calvert County became famous throughout the country. Shipbuilding was considered the next most important industry in Solomons. Official recognition was given the Solomons community in 1870.
Our Star of the Sea Historic Church & School in 2016
Our Star of the Sea Church & school in 1984
PO Box 560, 90 Alexander Lane, Solomons, Maryland 20688
Phone (410) 326-3535 | Fax (410) 326-3679 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org