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Mass at St. Francis Xavier Shrine in Old Bohemia to mark feast day Dec. 3

Old Bohemia
Mass is celebrated Sept. 1, 2018 at St. Francis Xavier Shrine (Old Bohemia) as part of the Diocese of Wilmington sesquicentennial celebration. Dialog photo/Joseph P. Owens

Fr. Tom Flowers will celebrate a Mass for the Feast of Saint Francis Xavier on Friday, Dec. 3 at 11 a.m. at St. Francis Xavier Church, Old Bohemia, in Warwick, Md. The rectory museum will be open one hour before the start of Mass.

Founded in 1704 by Jesuit priests, Bohemia Mission is one of the oldest permanent Catholic establishments in the English Colonies and is considered the mother church of the Diocese of Wilmington. The plantation was clandestinely established to minister to the scattered Catholics throughout what is now Cecil County, MD, the entire Delmarva Peninsula, and southeastern PA, when Catholicism was outlawed in the English Colonies. The property is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Old Bohemia
St. Francis Xavier, Old Bohemia (Dialog file photo)

Through the efforts of Francis W. (Frank) Krastel, Sr., a Catholic, and Alfred N. Phillips, a Presbyterian and owner of nearby Worsell Manor, the Old Bohemia Historical Society (OBHS) was established in 1953 as a non-sectarian non-profit corporation. Founding members of the group immediately started major repairs to the church which had fallen into ruin due to neglect. The Society purchased the adjoining 120-acre farm on which the plantation was located and had been sold by the Diocese of Wilmington in 1931.

The Society, with the help of the Diocese of Wilmington, continues to maintain the site. Income for the upkeep of the buildings and grounds is generated from the collection at five Masses at the church every year, fundraisers, membership dues, and donations from benefactors.

For more information or to arrange a tour, please call OBHS President Kathy Ursitti at (302) 378-7283 or email OldBohemiaHS@gmail.com. The church is also available for group retreats and Catholic weddings. A video about the mission can be viewed on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFGlCsNM6gk. The GPS location of the Bohemia Mission is 1699 Bohemia Church Road, Warwick, MD  21912.