St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Warren, Ohio is part of the Diocese of Youngstown. St. Mary Parish, unofficially known as Warren’s mother church, was founded over 183 years ago, one year after the wilderness of the territory became a chartered village. Father Patrick O’Dwyer ministered to the pioneer Catholics under the direction of the bishop of Cincinnati. The following three decades saw missionary priests celebrating mass in fields, praries, and private homes. The first church building, used from 1864 to 1901, was purchased from the Episcopal church at South Park and Franklin streets and remodeled for Catholic services. The cornerstone for the present church building at High and Seneca streets was laid in 1902 and the church dedicated five years later. That historical presence and heritage of faith continue to instill gratitude, pride and devotion. Another meaningful feature linking the present-day church to its past is the massive bell hanging in the church’s bell tower. According to its inscription, the bell was crafted in 1892, indicating that it hung in the original church and survived a fire in the early 20th century. It would have tolled at funerals and weddings of parishioners long gone. It would have tolled when people heard about the sinking of the Titanic or at the end of World War I, and many other momentous occasions. It is a vital part of the parish and a lifeline that people connect with. Not surprisingly, parishioners cite “The Bells of St. Mary’s” as one of their favorite hymns.
Photo is Circa 1910