The Landmark covers an area including many churches, which have been subject to many changes over the years. Some changes were physical in nature, resulting from a fire or other catastrophe. Others to make accommodations as the needs of their congregations changed. Religious denominations also changed, so that congregations at certain locations and serving particular denominations may have changed the form of worship as well as location.

Change has been a large part of St. Mary Parish in Riverside. The church has been located in three different places, though it has been in its present location the longest — 90 years and counting.

A mission church, it was established in 1876 and served Catholics of the area while located at 45th Street and Joliet Road in Lyons. The congregation grew and it was built on Blackhawk Road in Riverside, where it was dedicated in 1901. 

As the parish grew and people moved “west” church officials saw the need for a larger church and a school. That is how St. Mary Church and school came to Herrick Road almost a century ago. It was dedicated by the late Cardinal George Mundelein on Sept. 12, 1926.

It was cause for celebration indeed. It still is. That’s why on Saturday, Aug. 27 from 4 to 9:30 p.m. Herrick Road in front of the church will be closed as parishioners and friends gather to “Rock the Block.” 

The event begins with an outdoor Mass in Mary Park at 4 p.m. Following the Mass will be fun, food and entertainment. For more information call Jane Birmingham at 447-1020, ext. 109.

Now, 90 years is a good long time to be anywhere; my family has been part of the parish for 75 years, which also is a long time. I can’t account for all of those years, but I do remember quite a lot from many of those years. 

The original school, which originally butted up to the back of the church, was no longer sufficient and so the “new school” was built, attached to the Church by a “breezeway.” Both buildings have been subject to many alterations since then. Even as we speak plans are on the drawing board to further accommodate parish needs, the last refurbishing and re-dedication of the church having taken place in 2003.