St. Mary’s Church on Hillhouse Avenue in New Haven, Conn., is the church of the city’s original Catholic congregation.
The parishioners' first church burned down in 1834. The current church was dedicated in 1874. Burdened by a $150,000 debt, the original plans for a steeple were left on the drawing board.
Since it is the birthplace of the Knights of Columbus, the Order’s Supreme Council helps maintain and update the church as needed. Over a four-year period from 1981 to 1984, the Knights completed a top-to-bottom renovation of the church.
In 1984, the Order added a 179-foot steeple to the church and a three-bell carillon was installed. Occasional restoration projects have been undertaken since then as part of the Order’s efforts to maintain the beauty of the church, which is the final resting place for the Servant of God Father Michael J. McGivney, the Order’s founder.