St Mary and St Joseph Parishes have been here in Freeport for over 150 years each. St Mary Parish was founded in 1846 by the Irish people. the current bulding was built in 1889 and dedicated in 1890. It was dedicated by the Bishop. It was the home parish of the parents of Spensor Tracy, who donated two of the beautiful stained glass windows that illuminates the church.
St Joseph Parish was founded about 16 years later in 1862. The current building was built in 1873. They were founded by the German community who branched off of St Mary church. Some of the founding families still attend mass here and contine to contribute to the mission that Christ places before them; to welcome and help those in who are in need and foster spiritual growth with those who want to come closer to Jesus.
The mission of Jesus is stated in the Holy Gospel according to Luke (4:43): “I must announce the good news of the reign of God, because that is why I was sent.” “We, the people of St. Joseph Parish, Freeport, Illinois, faithful to Jesus’ mission, regularly celebrate the Eucharist and other Sacraments, from which we are sent both to live the Gospel, and to evangelize our neighbors, near and afar. As stewards of God’s generous gifts we are committed to provide the personnel and resources needed to carry out our mission.” -Mission Statement
We, the People of St. Mary Parish in Freeport, Illinois and the Catholic Diocese of Rockford, are called by the Father through baptism to be a people of prayer, worship, community and service. United in faith and the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit we proclaim the redeeming love of Jesus Christ and his reign in heaven and on earth by the way we live our lives. -Mission Statement