History of St. Mary Parish
St Mary parish began around 1873, when there is evidence of an active Catholic community in the area. In 1874 land at the present 45th and Joliet Rd. in Lyons was donated for the first church. Father Austin Morini was the first pastor, followed by several more Servite priests. Parishioners were from Berwyn, Clyde, Lyons, Riverside and Summit.
The parish grew! In 1899, pastor Father Joseph Lamb purchased land for a new church on Blackhawk Road in Riverside and he helped the parishioners of Summit to secure land for their own church. A mission was established in Berwyn and in 1923 it became St Leonard parish. In 1925, parishioners from Lyons dedicated their own church, St Hugh. In 1926, a new St Mary church and school on Herrick Road were dedicated. In 1949. The growing number of Catholics in North Riverside joined the St Mary Mission of North Riverside. In 1953, that mission became Mater Christi Parish with the dedication of their church.
St Mary is still on Herrick Road, but so much is not the same! The years have seen many changes. Today our pastor is Father Tom May and we serve approximately 1100 families from 37 different communities. Our parish school has 357 students and our Religious Education program has 300 students.
A variety of organizations and ministries work together to welcome all and to serve the needs of parishioners and the communities beyond. Our website, stmaryriverside.org, provides current information and resources for growth in faith, live-stream Sunday Mass and daily reflections.
Our newest facility, the Parish Pastoral Center, is at 40 E. Burlington. Being on the main street of Riverside, it is convenient for parishioners and accessible to those who may be seeking the Lord.
We are proud of our history, but prouder that we are a parish of people who are open to the Holy Spirit and responsive to the Spirit’s work in our midst.
Our Patron Saint
Mary was a first-century Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth, the wife of Joseph, and the mother of Jesus, according to the canonical gospels and the Quran. According to Christian theology she conceived Jesus through the Holy Spirit while still a virgin. She accompanied Joseph to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.
Her feast day is celebrated on September 8th.