St. Francis Xavier Shrine (Old Bohemia) was founded in 1704 by Father Thomas Mansell, S.J. It is one of the oldest permanent Catholic establishments in the English Colonies and is considered the mother church of the Diocese of Wilmington. All are invited to the last Mass of the year at the church on Sunday, October 27 at 4 p.m. Reverend Jim Betz from the Diocese of Camden will be the celebrant. Fr. Betz will present a short talk on the history of Catholicism in southern New Jersey. (Spoiler: Old Bohemia plays a part in the story.)
The Old Bohemia Historical Society (OBHS) was formed in 1953 as a non-sectarian non-profit corporation to maintain the buildings and grounds at Old Bohemia. The Society purchased the property’s 120 acres and maintains the buildings and grounds with assistance from the Diocese of Wilmington. Income for the upkeep and restoration of the facilities comes from membership dues, donations from benefactors, fundraisers and the collection at five annual Masses at the church. For more information or to arrange a tour of the church and rectory, please call OBHS President Kathy Ursitti at 302.378.7283. For GPS directions, use the address: 1690 Bohemia Church Road 21912.