Mother of Mercy Catholic Church
A visual history of the Catholic Church in Washington, North Carolina
Celebrating our Bicentennial / 1820-2020
On December 30, 1820, the Right Reverend John England arrived in Charleston, S.C., having been named the first Bishop of the Diocese of Charleston, which at that time encompassed Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. On June 4, 1821, Bishop England made his first visit to Washington,N.C. During his visit, he official organized and established the Catholic Church in Washington. The Catholic Community in Washington began construction on the St John the Evangelist Church on February 11, 1824. St John the Evangelist Church was consecrated by Bishop England on March 25, 1829; it was the first completed Catholic church in North Carolina.
In 1843-44, Clarissa Bond, a long-term resident of Washington, converted and received her sacraments. She would marry Alfred Price in 1845. They would have 8 children together. Her eighth child, Thomas Frederick Price, was born in Wilmington, NC. He would be ordained a Catholic Priest serving in North Carolina and eventually started the Maryknoll Community of Missionaries. Fr Price’s cause for Canonization as a saint is currently being investigated by the Holy See in Rome.
After the construction of the Mother of Mercy School, the building was used as the Church and the Sacraments were celebrated there. Nonetheless, the faithful of Washington still desired to have a proper church and so they began to construct Mother of Mercy church.
In addition to Mother of Mercy Church, St Agnes was formed, constructed, and eventually consecrated on October 13, 1929, by Bishop William J. Hafey to serve the white faithful while Mother of Mercy would continue to serve the black faithful. Father Mark Moeslein, who was a fantastic Passionist priest, served as the first pastor of St. Agnes and Mother of Mercy.
On September 24, 1948, Mother of Mercy Church was dedicated by Bishop Vincent C. Waters.
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