McHenry’s St. Mary Celebrates 125 Years
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
August 22, 2019
MCHENRY—“You are linked to Mary,” said Bishop David Malloy to parishioners during an evening Mass on the Feast of the Assumption, Aug. 15, at St. Mary Parish, here.
 
The day held special significance as the parish commemorated its founding on Aug. 15, 1894, and celebrated 125 years of service to God and the community. The parish began with 125 families of German descent.  
 
Over 150 parishioners attended the Mass celebrated by Bishop Malloy with pastor Father David Austin and other  McHenry pastors —  Father Godwin Asuquo of St. Patrick Parish and Father Paul White of Church of Holy Apostles. They were assisted by Deacon Craig Robinson of Church of Holy Apostles.
 
In his homily, Bishop Malloy recalled how on this feast day of Mary 125 years ago the first Mass was said in the church. 
 
“Look back at those years and see how the graces of the Church and faith have spread in this area,” he said. “With God’s gift of Himself, He has kept people of this parish and their faith on fire.”
 
He praised the founders and remarked on the beauty of the German-made stained glass windows in the church. 
 
“There were countless donors, big and small, who sacrificed for this church,” Bishop Malloy said.
 
Following Mass, everyone gathered outside the church as the light of day faded to watch Bishop Malloy bless a 125th anniversary commemorative plaque.
 
Many long time parishioners, such as Bernice Diedrich, 91, and Stella Vogt, 93, are still active and attended the  anniversary Mass. They reminisced about the past and the present.  
 
“My grandfather Stephen Freund helped build this church,” said Deidrich, who was baptized at St. Mary 91 years ago and was married to her late husband, Bob, there in 1947. 
 
“My five children were baptized here, too,” she added, “and my daughter Pat Wagner taught at our parish school for 40 years.”
 
Vogt and her late husband, Bob, joined St. Mary’s in 1944 and raised their three children here. 
 
“This is such a nice parish,” she said, “with wonderful people.”
 
A reception followed outside under a tent in the church’s backyard. Parish members shared anniversary cake and mingled with Bishop Malloy and Father Austin.