St. Mary’s Parish was established in 1870 and was known as Assumption Parish. The cornerstone for the first church, which was located at 6th Street and Washington Avenue, was laid on July 24, 1870. Although the church was not completed, services began to be held there in 1872. The church was completed and dedicated on March 3, 1873. It was two stories high, with one room on each floor that measure 15 by 18 feet in diameter. The church was on the first floor and the second floor would later be completed to provide living quarters for the priest.
As the parish grew, more space was needed so in January 1880 property was purchased at Ninth Street and Washington Avenue and the second church, a small brick building fronting on Ninth Street was built. On April 8, 1883, the cornerstone for the third church was laid. This church faced Washington at the corner of Washington and Ninth Street. It was completed and dedicated in 1886. The bell for the church was purchased in France and donated to the church in 1900. In November 1904, at the Bishop’s request, a rectory was built at the corner of Columbus and Ninth Streets. On March 6, 1910, remodeling of the church was completed and it was re-dedicated by the bishop.
On September 13, 1942, the fourth church, located at the corner of Fourteenth Street and Washington Avenue, was dedicated and the parish became known as the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption. The mansion at 1401 Washington Street, had been purchased for a church rectory in 1941. In 1947 St. Mary’s School located at Thirteenth and Washington opened. In 1950 the property at fourteenth Street and Columbus Avenue was added and used as a day school, parish youth center and convent In 1960 the residence located at Fifteenth and Columbus was purchased and remodeled for a Parish Hall.
Other parishes formed from St. Mary’s are: St. Francis on the Brazos Parish in 1924; St. Joseph’s Parish in 1951; St. John’s in East Waco in 1953; Sacred Heart in South Waco in 1957; St. Louis Parish in 1968; and St. Jerome’s Parish in 1983. St. Eugene’s in McGregor and St. Joseph’s in Elk were originally missions of St. Mary’s.
Rev. A. Badelon: 1880-1897
Rev. P.J. Clancy: 1897-1910
Rev. E.A. Kelly:1910-1919
Rev. P.A. Heckman: 1919-1926
Rev. J.P. O’Leary: 1926-1932
Rev. Thomas F. Hogan: 1932-1934
Rt. Rev. Msgr. J.J. Kearns: 1934-1970
Rt. Rev. Msgr. Edward A. Rabroker: 1970-1988
Rt. Rev. Msgr. John E. Driscoll: 1988-1990
Rev. William Barrow (Administrator): 1990-1991
Rev. Angelo Bertini: 1991-2006
Rev. Irudayaraj Nelapati Thomas: 2006-2010
Rev. Joseph F. Geleney Jr.: 2010-Present