St. Mary’s Parish will celebrate 150 years in Holley

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 August 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – The St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Holley will kick off the beginning of its 150th anniversary year with a big celebration on Saturday.

There will be a Mass at 5 p.m. officiated by Bishop Richard Malone, leader of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese.

In celebration of the Feast of the Assumption, the parish will have its annual procession through the Public Square with a statue of Mary (pictured above). That procession will begin at about 6 p.m. at the church at 13 South Main St.

A party will follow at 7 p.m. with food and music. The Social and Education Center will also include a historical memorabilia and artifacts related to St. Mary’s Church, St. Mary’s School and St. Mark’s Church in Kendall.

The St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Holley held services in this building on East Avenue, formerly called Canal Street. The parish moved to a new building in 1904, the current church made of Medina sandstone.

This photo shows the Rev. James H. Leddy, the parish priest from 1888 to 1898.

This postcard shows the new church not long after it was built in 1904. The postcard is part of a historical display being put together in The Social and Education Center.

The church remains a dominant and well-maintained landmark in Holley.

John Dellaquila has been a member of St. Mary’s for 50 years. He is pictured next to a statue of St. Rocco from the former St. Rocco’s Catholic Church in Hulberton. The statue was recently refurbished and is proudly displayed inside St. Mary’s.

The church in St. Rocco’s was built in 1906. The parish continues to put on the St. Rocco’s Festival. This year it will be Sept. 6. The festival has been an annual tradition since 1976.

Dellaquila said the parish has been energized with many younger members and the parish priest, Father Mark Noonan.

“We have a very young vibrant crowd that is doing more and more,” Dellaquila said. “It’s still a small parish and the people are friendly.”

Some of the artifacts at St. Mary’s include this book of recipes from the St. Rocco’s church members.

Church historians found this copy of a pew rental payment for $4 for the first quarter of 1899.

Portraits of the priests who have served the parish will also be displayed. The man in the lower right, John Castaldi, is the first priest to serve the parish. Castaldi led the parish from 1873-1875. In the parish’s first few years, it was a missionary church connected to the parish in Brockport.

The interior of St. Mary’s includes many stained-glass windows and ecclesiastical art.