About Church

History of St. Mary's

Parish History

St. Mary’s Parish was established in 1853 with the arrival in Annapolis of members of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Congregations Sanctissimi Redemptorist—C.Ss.R.—Redemptorists). Before then the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), who had been coming to Annapolis since 1704 or earlier administered St. Mary’s as a mission station. The property on which St. Mary’s Church and Rectory are located was given to the Redemptorists in 1852 by four granddaughters of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, whose birthplace and long-time home is on the property. Conditions of the gift were that “The House, garden, and enclosure back and front, to be always consecrated to Religion” and that Mass be offered once a month for the four donors, their parents, and their grandfather. The original mission church (built in 1822) and its property—where the schools are now located—was given to the Redemptorists in 1853.

Archdiocese of Baltimore

St. Mary's Parish is part of The Archdiocese of Baltimore (AOB).  AOB was established as a diocese in 1789, comprises the City of Baltimore and Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard and Washington Counties.  

To learn more about The Archdiocese of Baltimore, please click here: http://www.archbalt.org/

Through the Years

List of 3 items.

  • 17th & 18th Centuries

    1694    Catholic landowner Charles Carroll moves from St. Mary’s City to Annapolis.
    1701    Charles Carroll buys property on Duke of Gloucester St., establishes private chapel in his house.
    1704    First recorded presence of Jesuits in Annapolis.
    1724    Jesuit Father John Bennett begins four-year residency at Carroll House;serves missions in Baltimore from his Annapolis “station.”
    1737    Charles Carroll of Carrollton born at parent's house.
    1771    George Washington dines at Carroll House.
    1776    Charles Carroll of Carrollton signs Declaration of Independence, only Catholic to do so.
  • 19th Century

    1813    Despite threat of British attack on Annapolis and own illness, Archbishop John Carroll visits Annapolis to administer Confirmation at Carroll House chapel.
    1817    Archbishop Ambroise Maréchal encourages Carroll of Carrollton to “do something for the future good of Religion” by paying salary of a clergyman at Annapolis.
    1821    Carroll transfers title to part of his property land for a church to his granddaughter, Mary Anne Patterson.
    1823    First St. Mary's Church opens; served monthly by Jesuits from Prince George’s County (until 1853).
    1833    Rev. Charles Constantine Pise, first Annapolitan to become a priest, former chaplain of the U.S. Senate, and renowned Catholic writer, returns as resident pastor of St. Mary’s for one year.
    1852    Carroll of Carrollton’s four granddaughters give Carroll property in Annapolis to Redemptorists for their novitiate on the condition that the house, garden, and enclosure back and front “be always consecrated to Religion.”
    1853    St. Mary’s Church property conveyed to Redemptorists; first Redemptorists arrive to replace Jesuits and establish permanent parish.
    1855    St. John Neumann, C.Ss.R., Bishop of Philadelphia, visits Redemptorist novitiate.
    1857    Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos C.Ss.R., serves briefly (April 16–May 19) as superior and novice master at St. Mary’s.
    1858    St. John Neumann blesses cornerstone and bell for new St. Mary’s Church; St. Mary’s Cemetery established on West Street.
    1859    Ground broken for new college building (now St. Mary’s Rectory).
    1860    New church dedicated; college building occupied.
    1862    Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos returns as rector (June 14, 1862–November 17, 1863); St. Mary’s School opens in old church with lay teachers.
    1866    Catholic free school for African Americans in operation.
    1867    School Sisters of Notre Dame take charge of St. Mary’s School.
    1868    Our Lady of Perpetual Help icon installed in the novitiate chapel.
    1878    Parish celebrates 25 years of Redemptorist arrival and establishment of permanent parish.
    1880    St. Mary’s Hall opens on site of old church/school.
    1898    Spanish prisoners captured in Cuba and incarcerated at Naval Academy visit St. Mary’s.
  • 20th & 21st Centuries

    1902    Two-story wing added to rear of St. Mary’s Hall.
    1903    50th anniversary of establishment of parish celebrated.
    1906    St. Mary’s organist and Naval Academy band master Charles Adams Zimmermann writes musical composition for “Anchors Aweigh.”
    1907    Redemptorist novitiate transferred to Ilchester, Maryland.
    1918    New stained-glass windows installed in church.
    1928    St. Mary’s celebrates 75 years as permanent parish.
    1929    One-story wing added to east side of St. Mary’s Hall.
    1934    One-story wing added to back of St. Mary’s Hall, second story added in 1942.
    1946    St. Mary’s High School opens with classes in Carroll House; new school building opens in 1947.
    1949    Separate church and school—St. Augustine’s—opens on Bates Street for African American parishioners of St. Mary’s; St. Mary’s Catholic Colored School closes after 83 years of service.
    1953    St. Mary’s celebrates 100 years as permanent parish.
    1956    Cornerstone laid for new St. Mary’s Elementary School.
    1958    Redemptorists’ Tirocinium established at St. Mary’s, continuation of second novitiate training for new priests (until 1969).
    1959    New wing added to St. Mary’s High School.
    1978    St. Mary’s celebrates 125 years as permanent parish; School Sisters of Notre Dame mark 111 years of service in Annapolis.
    1979    St. John Neumann and Blessed Francis X. Seelos windows installed in church.
    1984    Ground broken for new wing on St. Mary’s High School.
    1989    St. Mary’s Elementary School Fine Arts Building dedicated.
    2000    St. John Neumann Mission Church on Bestgate Road dedicated.
    2003    St. Mary’s celebrates 150 years as permanent parish.
    2010    Celebration of 150th anniversary of dedication of St. Mary’s Church.

Did You Know?

Rear of St. Mary's church showing organ in choir loK. In 1906 Charles Adams Zimmermann, while longtime Naval Academy bandmaster and St. Mary's organist, composed the Navy's "Anchor's Aweigh", whose refrain opens echoing the melody of the ancient Latin Marian hymn, "Salve Regina''.
St. Mary’s Parish, a Catholic congregation served by the Redemptorist Order, includes St. Mary’s Church and St. John Neumann Mission Church. St. Mary's Elementary and High School located in downtown Annapolis, Maryland, serve students in grades Kindergarten through 12. Anchored in faith, rooted in tradition, and committed to excellence, our programs build lifelong learners who are servant leaders.