Compiled by Tracy Rusch, using resources provided on the parish website,

St. Sebastian was the first church built in 1845. (Submitted photo courtesy Immaculate Conception St. Mary Parish)First church: Missionary priests traveling through Burlington celebrated Mass in the homes of area Catholics who came from European countries in the early 1800s – Fr. Thomas Morrissey, a missionary who served the area for 23 years, celebrated the earliest known Mass in the house of Mr. Nimms in 1838. St. Sebastian Parish was built in 1845. The community quickly outgrew the church and replaced it in 1859 with a stone Gothic Revival church, called Immaculate Conception.

Current church: The current church was built in 1891. It was almost completely lost in a fire in 1977, but has been restored to much of its orginal beauty and was rededicated in 1979.

First pastor: Fr. Michael Wisbauer, first resident pastor, 1847-1889

In commemoration of this anniversary, Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki will celebrate Mass at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 8, followed by a luncheon and reception in the cafeteria.

Current pastor: Fr. James T. Volkert, 2010-present

School: St. Mary Grade School, which began in the first church – St. Sebastian – four days after the School Sisters of Notre Dame arrived, was established in 1860 with 110 students. The parish and school were served by 350 Notre Dame and Franciscan Sisters. It was later moved to the old stone church, then to the building where Catholic Central now resides, and, in 1955, to the grade school’s existing building.

In 1920, the parish bought back its first church from the St. Eustachius Benevolent Society, which became home to a Catholic two-year commerical business high school in 1924, and expanded to a four-year program five years later.

By 1926, St. Mary High School, now Catholic Central High School, moved into its new building on the south end of campus, which it shared with the grade school. Catholic Central now functions separately from the parish, and is sponsored by many of the area parishes. The convent is home to the parish preschool, which started in 2001.

Worth noting: Good Shepherd Chapel was added to the south side of the church when the church was rededicated in 1979.

Since 1980, there haven’t been any significant building projects to the church or grade school.

More than 20 of the parish’s members have become priests, two became brothers and more than 20 became sisters.