Administrator: Reverend Christopher R. Burke
12 Center Street ExtensionNew Salem, PA. 15468 Get Directions
St. Mary Assumption Byzantine Catholic Church was organized in May 1903, with the first resident pastor arriving in September of the same year. The first liturgical services were conducted in a frame dwelling, House #143-144, situated in Buffington, Pa.
In late 1903, 2.116 acres of land plus an extra lot were purchased from the Hess Estate for the sum of $5,000. This property contained a red brick house (circa 1877) which served as the rectory until 1967. The original frame church was constructed on this property, with the cornerstone laid on November 26, 1903. In 1906, three acres of ground were acquired from the H.C. Frick Coke Company, with another acre of land for the parish cemetery.
In September of 1913, a controversy over the parish’s identity was resolved in Civil Court. By-laws were adopted by the congregation, now officially Byzantine Catholic, on December 21, 1913, and were approved in their entirety on February 12, 1914. Ten months later, the church was solemnly dedicated.
Six rooms were added to the original rectory and a four-room cantor’s dwelling. A two-room red brick schoolhouse also was built and dedicated on December 27, 1917.
On August 21, 1966 ground was broken for a new complex to include a new church, rectory, social and catechetical center. On December 17, 1967 the cornerstone was laid and the new facilities were dedicated. A non-lien mortgage was secured for a period of 20 years with final payment slated for May 1, 1988. However, the final payment was made early, on April 11, 1977. The mortgage joyfully was burned at a celebration on August 14, 1977.
With love, devotion, and dedication to their patron, Mary in her Holy Assumption, the parish family continues to flourish.