Who We Are
St. Mary's was established as a Roman Catholic parish in 1832. It is the oldest Catholic parish in New Haven and the second oldest in Connecticut. The cornerstone for the present Church was laid on September 22, 1870 and it was dedicated on October 25, 1874. On October 2, 1882, in the basement of St. Mary's Church, Father Michael J. McGivney organized the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal benefit society that would protect the widows and children of working men and foster their faith and their social progress. On Sunday, May 16, 1886 Dominican Fathers Higgins, Kent, Hartigan and Linahan were charged with the ministry at St. Mary's and on that day the first Solemn Mass in the Dominican Rite was celebrated in the Church. Today St. Mary's provides a home for a widely diverse congregation. Many are lifetime members of St. Mary's, the descendants of the founding families and early immigrants. Others have joined the parish more recently, and still others come to the community for only a short time to purse academic programs or temporary employment in the area. Single people and families from New Haven, Hamden, West Haven, East Haven, as well as surrounding towns join together to worship at Mass and to receive the preached word at St. Mary's, as it continues to be the primary Catholic presence in downtown New Haven, CT. During the 12 Noon Sunday Mass, Sept. to June, a semiprofessional choir sings the Latin Gregorian Proper chants and motets and the congregation sings a Gregorian chant Ordinary.