Location: Lancaster, New York
From the Lancaster Enterprise Times,
November 19, 1925
St. Mary’s Church will open the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee [75 years, 1850-1925] of its existence as a parish next Sunday. Rt. Rev. William Turner, S.T.D., Bishop of Buffalo, will assist at the Solemn High Mass at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Rev. John V. Schaus M.R. who is celebrating the Silver Jubilee of his pastorate on the Hill will sing the High Mass. Rev. Edw. Rengel, pastor of St. Mary’s of the Angels, Olean, N.Y., and Rev. Michael Anstett, pastor of St. Bernard’s Church Buffalo, both Lancaster boys of days gone by, will act as deacon and subdeacon. Assisting the Bishop at his throne will be the Rt. Rev. Msgr. George Weber, M.R., a life-long friend of Father Schaus, and Rt. Rev Msgr. Charles E. Duffy D.D., pastor of St. Josephs New Cathedral, Buffalo, formerly pastor of St. James, Depew. The Rt. Rev. Msgr. Edmund J. Britt will act as master of ceremonies and will be assisted by Fathers Ebner and Witkop. Rev. Roman J. Nuwer will preach the festive sermon. A good number of dignitaries and priests of the diocese will attend.
The church is being appropriately decorated for the occasion in the papal colors, yellow and white. St. Mary’s choir, under the direction of Prof. Leo Roy, is preparing a special program of music for the occasion. At the entrance of the Bishop the choir will sing “Ecce Sacerdos” by Father Bonvin. The mass that follows will be DeLardelli's Mass in F, and the Offertory, "Exultate" by Zangl.
On Monday, November 28th a Solemn Requiem for all the deceased members of the parish will be sung.
The celebration will close on Thanksgiving Day. In the evening at 7:30 there will be chanted Solemn Vespers of Thanksgiving for the 75 years of blessing and prosperity the parish has enjoyed. All friends of St. Mary's as well as its parishioners are cordially invited to attend these services.
The history of St Mary’s Parish goes back to even earlier days than those commemorated in the Jubilee. In 1830 Father Mertz, then pastor of St. Louis’ Church, Buffalo, made the first visit of a Catholic priest to the Catholics of Lancaster. He and his successors, Father Pax and the Venerable Bishop Neumann, C. SS.R., made missionary visits to the villagers here. In 1834, the property now occupied by St. Mary’s on the hill was purchased by the Catholics of Lancaster. A rough frame building which acted as a church until 1851, was started about 1838. Commencing with 1840—St. Mary’s had a resident pastor for a number of years. Then followed a period without a priest, and another few years in which Lancaster was served by the priests of St. Mary’s Church, Buffalo.
In 1850 the year commemorated in the Jubilee Celebration, Father Sergius de Stchoulepnkoff came to St. Mary’s as resident pastor. Ever since St. Mary’s has had its priests remaining on the hill. In 1850 St. Mary’s first brick church was started.
St. Mary’s School dates far beyond the fifties. School was first taught in the family home. This proved unsatisfactory and already in the 30’s Father Neumann erected a frame school building at Transit Rd. and Broadway. The school was moved up the hill in the early 40’s. St. Mary’s first school on the hill was a frame structure. It gave place to a brick building in 1874 and this in turn was later replaced by Saint Mary’s present school.
Seventy-five years has brought many changes to St. Mary’s. From a few acres of pasture land, it has been altered into a beauty spot of more than ten times its original size. A wooden but has given way to St. Mary’s beautiful brick church. A frame country school house with less than a hundred little tots and a school master gathered round the warm stove, has become a modern brick structure and a teaching staff of twenty sisters, convent, rectory, organist’s house, cemetery—all have been added. St. Mary’s congregation has been served by many priests. Among these were Fathers Kraemer, Klein, Feldman, Frey, Scheffels, and Ruffing as pastors and Fathers Weber, Fricker, Fassaler, Mueller, Hoernachenmeyer, Hoen and McGuire as assistants.
Among these who stand out preeminently because of the long duration of their stay and the achievements they have attained; Father Sester and Father Schaus. Taken together Father Sester and Father Schaus have been pastors in Lancaster for over fifty-two years. Father Sester for twenty-seven years. He built the first brick school—and the present church. He beautified Saint Mary’s property, leveling the hills and filling the valleys. Father Schaus put the finishing touches to St. Mary’s beauty. He built the present school and rectory, and brought St. Mary’s School and Church to its present high standard.
To Lancaster, St. Mary’s has meant good, peaceful, loyal, Godfearing citizens. St. Mary’s school has meant a saving of millions to Lancaster’s taxpayers. St. Mary’s on the hill has been, without a doubt the greatest agency for good in the Town of Lancaster.
All Lancaster, then will rejoice with St. Mary’s on its day of Jubilee, and wish it the blessings and prosperity of years gone by, and even greater blessings in the years to come.
Lancaster Enterprise Times, November 19, 1925