Take a look inside St. Mary’s

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 May 2013 at 12:00 am

Holley Catholic Parish will celebrate 150th anniversary in 2016

Photos by Tom Rivers – The Catholic Parish in Holley was founded in 1866. Church members built the sandstone church in 1904 on South Main Street.

HOLLEY – I had never been inside St. Mary’s Catholic Church until Friday. I was in Holley working a couple other stories and saw church members outside, getting ready for a June 1 yard sale.

I asked for a quick tour of the church and Laurie Vogt was happy to show me around. Vogt cleans St. Mary’s. She has attended the parish for 20 years. The Byron resident used to be a religious education teacher at St. Mary’s.

“I like the people,” said Vogt, who met a lot of the Holley residents through her farm stand on Route 237 in Byron. Her family, the Bezons, grow onions and other crops on the muck.

“The older people here really took me under their wing,” Vogt said about St. Mary’s. “The parish is very family-oriented.”

The parish was founded in 1866. Church members built the sandstone church in 1904 at 11 South Main St.

I’ve heard Holley residents talk about the stained-glass windows, how the sunlight seems to pour in during the afternoon. I wanted to see it myself.

“It’s really beautiful,” said Father Mark Noonan, the parish priest the past three years.

He is proud of the parish, from the early members who built the large sandstone church with so many stained-glass windows to the current members who maintain the site and work to connect with the community.

When Father Noonan moved to the rectory next door three years ago, he had a pine tree taken down. Some St. Mary’s members were initially upset. But the community soon approved of the change because the church building and a statue of Mary outside are now more visible, Noonan said.

Before I left, church volunteers working on the June 1 sale asked that I give the event a plug on OrleansHub.com. The yard sale also includes a chicken barbecue.