It is a joy for me to welcome you to our parish family here at Saint Patrick. Since its founding in 1843, our parish has grown from a few families to well over 600 families. Among the many reasons I feel proud to lead and serve as priest, is the fact that we enjoy a diverse parish community that finds its source of unity in the gift of our Catholic faith and the power of the Eucharist to unite and sanctify.
Our mission at Saint Patrick’s Church is to help you find and experience Christ this this Eucharistic community. As Christ and the Holy Spirit are the ones that drive and move the Church and society. While none of us could have ever predicted the impact COVID-19 would have on our Nation, the Church, and our families, the way our parish responded over the past year in creative ways speaks to our resolve and trust in the Lord. As we return to public worship at full capacity in our church and with the dispensation from attending Sunday Mass now lifted, I look forward to worshipping with you in a regular basis. As we re-engage in our various ministries, your membership in our parish family will only serve to strengthen this community of faith.
There are many ministries and faith-based programs offered here at Saint Patrick’s Church. I hope you find a ministry in which you can participate in for the building-up of the Body of Christ. Our ministries and rich liturgical celebrations are dependent upon the generosity of our parishioners either by using weekly envelopes or through online giving using Give Central. You can access Give Central through our website: www.stpatrickhdg.com. Please don’t hesitate to call the office or drop us an email if you have any questions.
Thanks again for choosing to join our parish. Because of you, we are stronger. May St. Patrick, our Patron, watch over your family and may the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, intercede for us all.
Respectfully in Christ,
History of the Parish
When Father James P. Fitzgerald ordered a granite monument to be placed in 1896 on a hill at Havre de Grace, there were still members of his congregation at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in town, who knew and remembered the subject of the monument. As the city was rapidly growing at the turn of the century, however, there were more who had no knowledge of the former church carved into the granite surface.
It was cold and fairly blustery day when a tarp was placed over the granite monument to be unveiled by the small group of faithful who followed Fitzgerald across the frosty ground of the small cemetery on Nov. 10, 1896. The group gathered about the monument and the priest said a few words, which history, sadly, has not recorded.
The monument remains today placed on the exact spot where the first Catholic church in Havre de Grace once stood. The small frame structure was opened for services in 1844, known then as St. James the Less Catholic Church. It was the predecessor of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church on Congress Avenue in Havre de Grace.
The monument is located within the boundaries of Mt. Erin Cemetery, on a hill to the north of Havre de Grace on the south side of Grace View Drive, less than a half mile off Route 155. The granite monument with a Latin cross atop it marks the location of that first church, and is quite prominent on the landscape of the cemetery. The eastern face of the monument reads, “Here stood the First Catholic Church at Havre de Grace, Md., built Anno Domini ’43-1845-43’ by Rev. James Reid. This stone erected November 10, 1896, James P. Fitzgerald, Pastor.”
Mt. Erin Cemetery is rather unique as the cemetery is divided into two sections. The west side in which the monument stands, is the Roman Catholic burial ground belonging to the current St. Patrick’s Church. The eastern section is marked “St. James” and belongs to the nearby and active St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church.
The long-forgotten St. James Church in Havre de Grace was not only the forerunner to today’s St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, it had its start on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1842, when Father James Reid purchased 14 lots from Ezra and Eliza Reed of Havre de Grace for $150. That first church was a small frame structure for which the cornerstone was laid in 1843 and services conducted in 1844.
It was only three years later, in 1847, that a new stone edifice was begun in downtown Havre de Grace, perhaps the congregation had grown or perhaps the congregants wanted a closer church edifice to attend.
Interestingly, if you visit St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, it is a visit to the church built in 1907. The earlier or second Catholic edifice built in town is remembered through foundations, surmounted by a later structure and the rectory, at the corner of North Stokes and Warren streets.