Mass will be celebrated at St. Francis Xavier Church (Old Bohemia) in Warwick, MD on Sunday, Oct. 22nd

This is the last Mass scheduled at this historic shrine in 2017 and begins at 4:00 p.m. Fr. Richard Jasper, the most recent priest ordained in the Diocese of Wilmington, will be the celebrant. A first-class relic of St. Francis Xavier, on loan from Geoff and Dorcas Gamble, will be available for veneration after the service.

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, Maryland, the entire Delmarva Peninsula, and southeastern Pennsylvania when Catholicism was outlawed in the English Colonies. The territory was reduced in size when the missions of Pennsylvania were established in the 1720’s and again with the founding of St. Joseph’s Mission at Cordova, Maryland 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 located at 1640 Church Road, Warwick, Maryland.