Jesuit professor to speak at Old Bohemia on May 20th.

Mass will be celebrated at St. Francis Xavier Church (Old Bohemia) in Warwick, MD on Sunday, May 20 at 4:00 pm. Fr. G. Ronald Murphy, S.J., Professor of German at Georgetown University, will be the celebrant. At 3:30 pm, Fr. Murphy will give a talk on how he located the iron cross that historians believe came to Maryland from England with the first settlers in 1634 and was used at Bohemia Manor, the school established at the Bohemia Mission. The cross was incorporated into the ambo created for the first Mass celebrated in the United States by Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope.

The Bohemia Mission was founded in 1704 by Rev. Thomas Mansell of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). The plantation was clandestinely established to minister to the scattered Catholics throughout what is now Cecil County, MD, the entire Delmarva Peninsula, and southeastern PA when Catholicism was outlawed in the English Colonies. The territory was reduced in size when the missions of PA were established in the 1720’s and again with the founding of St. Joseph’s Mission at Cordova, MD in 1765. After the Diocese of Wilmington was established in 1868, it was further reduced from time to time as new parishes were opened. The present church dates from 1792. The roof, floor, altar and pews are not original as they had to be replaced following a fire in 1912.

The Old Bohemia Historical Society (OBHS), begun by a Catholic, a Quaker and a Methodist in 1954, bought the property’s core 120 acres and now maintains the site. No money is received from the Diocese of Wilmington or any other agency or religious order to assist with the upkeep of the properties. Income is generated from the collection at the five yearly Masses at the church, fundraisers such as the Big Sale (May 19, 2018), membership dues, and donations from benefactors. The church is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is on the Diocese of Wilmington 150th Anniversary Historic Churches Pilgrimage.

For more information or to arrange a tour of the church and rectory, please call OBHS President Marji Matyniak at 302.328.4803. The church is also available for group retreats and weddings. For GPS, the church is located at 1699 Bohemia Church Road, Warwick, MD 21912.

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Contact: Clarice Kwasnieski
[email protected]