Bishop Frederick Campbell will celebrate the Mass marking the 200th Anniversary of the First Mass celebrated in Lancaster, Ohio on Tuesday, August 15th, the Patronal Feast of St. Mary of the Assumption, at 7pm. Fr. Thomas Blau, O.P. will be homilist. An ice cream reception will be held in the courtyard immediately following the Mass. All are invited to attend the Mass and reception.
Bishop Edward D. Fenwick is known for planting the Catholic Faith in Ohio and as the priest who offered the first Mass in Lancaster. The St. Mary Parish Centenary Anniversary booklet of 1920 quotes a letter written by then, Father Fenwick to a friend. “It often happens that I am compelled to travel vast and uninhabitable forests, where not a trace of a road is to be seen. Not infrequently, overtaken by night in the midst of those I am compelled to hitch my horse to a tree and making a pillow of my saddle, recommend myself to God and go to sleep with bears on all sides.”
It was on one of these journeys in the year 1817, Father Fenwick, a Dominican priest, came through Lancaster, and stopping here, celebrated the first Mass in the home of Michael Garaghty. The Fairfield County Foundation is now housed in the Garaghty home, located across the street from St. Mary Church.
Fr. Fenwick went onto become the first Bishop of Cincinnati, January 13, 1822.