St. Mary Parish is the oldest continuous parish in the Diocese of Toledo. It was founded on May 15, 1831 by Irish Immigrants who settled in the Tiffin area.
The Most reverend Edward D. Fenwick, O.P. D.D., the "Apostle of Ohio", the first Bishop of Cincinnati, and founder of St. Mary Parish, appointed Father Quin first pastor of Tiffin on January 1, 1831. He was given charge of all the Catholics in northwestern Ohio, and arrived in Tiffin on May 15, 1831. After Sunday services were over, fervent pioneer Catholic men gathered with Father Quin and drew up plans for the future; the discussion topic was the building of a church on the acre of land in Tiffin, bought almost two years previous by Bishop Fenwick. It must be borne in mind that the congregation numbered but few families and single individuals. They were poor in this world's goods, and money was scarce. The pioneer men and women of St. Mary Parish were people of deep abiding faith. With the assurance of faith, they knew God would be with them to assist them in the solution of the problem of their temporary needs, (provide a home for the new pastor and means for his support) as he had been in their spiritual needs. In the Fall of the same year, three members of the parish, whose names should be written in gold in the records of this parish: Patrick Kinney, Philip Henessy and Mathew Delaney, personally contracted for the making of sufficient brick to build a small church, approximately 30 by 40 feet in dimensions. The Church, located near East Madison St., was not dedicated until January 7, 1837. Father Zavier Tschenhens, dedicated this church to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title, Help of Christians, the feast of which is celebrated on May 24th.
In the mid 1800's St. Mary Church opened its doors to the influx of German Immigrants. Because of Father Healy's insight that our Church would have a rapidly growing congregation, his ambition was to construct a new Church. Due to his untimely death, he was unable to realize his dream. At the turn of the century, Italian Immigrants found their home here also. Fr. Healy's successor, Father Conlon, carried out the plans for building the new Church on the corner of Clay Street and S. Sandusky Street. In August, 1905, Bishop Horstman, of the Cleveland Diocese, laid the cornerstone for the new St. Mary Church, and on Sunday, September 30, 1906, our church was dedicated.
Today, St. Mary Parish, 85 S. Sandusky Street, consists of people from many diverse backgrounds.