St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception and St. Patrick’s serve the east end of Wilmington and have done so for a long time. St. Mary’s was founded in 1858 and St. Patrick’s in 1880, as the city and the area of Irish immigration expanded. St. Mary’s was dedicated by St. John Neumann, for at the time Wilmington was part of the Diocese of Philadelphia, where he was bishop.
The parishes are canonically and corporately separate but for forty years have been administered by a single pastor and share many aspects of life and ministry. The two parishes, though small, maintain a vital presence in the city. The buildings and grounds are islands of beauty, and the regular celebration of the liturgy sanctifies the city. St. Mary’s is a larger building with the more grand interior, but St. Patrick’s boasts some of the finest windows in the city.
There is authentic diversity at St. Patrick’s and St. Mary’s. The membership is racially mixed. Members live nearby or throughout the area, returning because of loyalty to the home parish and commitment to the city. St. Patrick’s has a lively Traditional Latin Mass community with regular worshipers from four states, and the Sunday afternoon mass draws people from many neighborhoods and parishes. The former St. Patrick’s school is now the St. Patrick’s Center, which provides a wide variety of services to the elderly and poor of the area.