Reverend Brian Norrell
- Website: https://stmarysbyz.org
3116 Elm StreetWeirton, WV. 26062 Get Directions
The congregation of Assumption (Dormition) of the Mother of God began to form in 1920. Many of the faithful were attracted to Weirton by the prospect of better paying jobs in the steel plant. The people first attended religious services across the border in Ohio at the Byzantine Catholic churches in Mingo Junction (8 miles) and Toronto (12 miles). With the hardship of traveling in those days, this proved to be an inadequate solution for meeting their spiritual needs. To keep their faith and worship more centered, they formed a fraternal society under the patronage of St. Nicholas of Myra. The Divine Liturgy was offered once a month in the Finnish Hall in North Weirton, and the first priest to offer the Liturgy was Father George Simchak from Avella, Pa.
From this fraternal society of 75 members, the parish officially was founded in November 1924. The church was erected and dedicated a year later by Most Reverend Basil Takach. Soon they purchased a parish house. Father Michael Warady was appointed the first resident pastor to the church dedicated under the special patronage of the Mother of God’s Assumption.
Major upgrades were made in the late 1940s in time for the parish’s Silver Jubilee. A new roof, furnace, altar and stained glass windows were added. In 1951 a fire significantly damaged the interior. However, the Liturgy continued to be celebrated while repairs were made.
By 1952 the parish had grown to 500 members. Over the next 25 years, many of the parish members performed a Passion Play on every Palm Sunday. The play originally was organized by St. Mary’s pastor, Father George Billy, who collaborated with one of the Latin Rite priests in Weirton. Members of other Catholic churches also contributed. All scenery, props and costumes were handmade by members of St. Mary’s parish.
Another major remodeling of the interior of the church was completed for the Golden Anniversary celebration in 1974. In 1978 a fire nearly destroyed the rectory, but it was repaired and remodeled. The last major renovation to the church was completed in 1989 with a new icon screen as a focal point, new carpeting and a newly painted interior.
The congregation continues to be active and dedicated to the church. The Men’s Club joined forces with the Altar Society which has been in existence almost as long as the church and remains a vital part of the parish community. The combined group takes the lead for many church activities and social gatherings.