By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
St. Mary Church in Muscatine hosted its first celebration of Mass in 1879. On June 21, it will celebrate Mass on the property for the last time.
The final Mass will be part of an evening of remembrance. After the 4 p.m. Mass to be held outside on the lower parking lot, guests can participate in the eucharistic procession from St. Mary’s to St. Mathias Church in honor of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. A dinner program at Gannon Hall.
St. Mary Parish merged with St. Mathias Parish around 2000, but St. Mary’s church building remained open until 2013, when architects discovered significant structural problems.
“It’s sad to close the church. There are a lot of memories, but it is a time of moving on,” said St. Mary & Mathias parishioner Frank Kelly.
Shuttles will be available to transport guests because of limited parking. For guests wanting to participate in the eucharistic procession, shuttles from St. Mathias to St. Mary will be available from 3 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. Those not participating in the procession or dinner can park near St. Mary Church during the same time. Attendants will assist with parking, and golf carts will be available if needed.
From 3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., guests may walk through the back vestibule of St. Mary for the last time and listen to songs played on the 1877 Pfeiffer organ. It is said to be one of the oldest working organs in the Midwest. At 3:45 p.m., Bishop Martin Amos will close the church.
From 3:50 to 4 p.m., members of the former St. Mary Parish will be recognized. At 4 p.m., Bishop Amos will celebrate the Eucharist. The procession to St. Mathias will form at 5 p.m. and proceed down 4th Street to Pine Street at 5:15 p.m. The procession is set to arrive at 5:50 p.m. Benediction will begin at 6 p.m., with dinner and fellowship in Gannon Hall to follow at 6:30 p.m.
Free and for-purchase St. Mary memorabilia will be available at the dinner. Guests can pick up free copies of the new history book about St. Mary’s as well as St. Mary holy cards. Note cards featuring historic and contemporary photos of the church will be sold in packages of eight for $5.