First Church Building
The first Mass was said in 1849 and our small family literally gathered around a table on the towpath of the canal. Our first church, built in 1854, on High Street, was expanded to twice its original size in 1862. This frame structure still stands on its original site at 22 High Street across the road from the present church. The shape is the same but it is now covered with siding and houses apartments.
It was during Father John Codyre's pastorship in 1882 that the familiar Celtic cross first graced the sky over the church on East Avenue bearing the name of the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Father James Wood arrived in 1925 as Father Codyre's successor, made many improvements and saw a need for further expansion. This building is no longer standing but was located where the current parking lot is.
Shortly after Father Leonard Kelly arrived in 1954, our parish saw more major improvements. While advancing the catechetical teaching in Fairport, he became aware of the need to expand or rebuild the church. He had the foresight to plan for a School of Religion rather than a full time school, which was until this year (2001) located on Baumer Place. In addition to religion classes for about one thousand high school and elementary students, adult sessions are held in teacher training, parenting, doctrine, scripture, contemporary moral and social issues. These are given by parish staff, parishioners specially trained for this work, and visiting lecturers. (Newcomer volunteers for lay catechists are especially welcome.)
In 1964, one of our parishioners, Joseph Dellelce, deeded his land on High Street to the Church of the Assumption as an expression of his devotion to Mary. He unknowingly gave us the actual foundation for our present church. When Father Joseph Beatini began his brief pastorship here in 1975, he began an appeal to his people for a building fund to enlarge the church on East Avenue. 1980 brought our seventh pastor, Father John Norris who completed this third building in 1981. It still retains some links to the past. The Stations of the Cross came from the earlier building as did the stained glass windows in the front foyer, which are over one hundred years old. The bells also came from the earlier church and ring out the Angelus during the day. In 1990, Father Norris added a carillon to the church.In 1991, Father Norris retired and was succeeded by Father Ed Golden. During Father Golden's nine-year tenure, plans were developed to expand the church building, and consolidate it with a new School of Religion and a parish life center on one campus. Plans went forward under Father Gary Tyman as administrator and construction has now been completed under our ninth pastor, Father Ed Palumbos. The old rectory has been converted to offices and the parish life center was added. The priests' residence was moved to 44 High Street, just up the street from our first church building!