First Saturday devotions, luncheon, scheduled May 6 at historic church

 

The oldest Catholic church building in Greenbrier County, the Catholic Church of Mary Immaculate, near Williamsburg, will once again be the site for the first Saturday devotions and daily Mass beginning May 6 and continuing on the first Saturday of each month through October.

The devotions begin at 10:30 a.m. and daily Mass is celebrated at 11 a.m.  A covered dish lunch will be served after the Mass, hosted by Dr. and Mrs. Larry Musselman of Butler Mountain. The public is invited to the service and luncheon.

Built in 1901, the present church building is the third Catholic church building constructed to serve the primarily German and Irish Catholic settlers in the Williamsburg, Falling Spring, and Frankford areas of Greenbrier County.  The first two were destroyed by accidental fires.

Prior to the first church building constructed in the late 1870’s, the Catholics in the area would gather at Corkrean’s Store in Williamsburg about midnight on Saturday night and walk the 18 miles to Lewisburg for early Mass at the Immaculate Conception Church there which was located on the corner of Church Street and Washington Street, about where the flower bed for Academy Park is located. The Williamsburg church was a part of the parish of St. Catherine of Siena in Ronceverte or Sacred Heart Parish in Rainelle during its history.

After being closed by the Diocese as an active church, Catholics in the area and neighbors of the church maintained the building and grounds of the church and the adjacent Immaculate Conception Cemetery.

The late Father Edward McDonald when he was pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Ronceverte began the tradition of having at least a yearly Mass and picnic at the historic church and this tradition was continued by members of the Alleghany Highlands Council 8689 Knights of Columbus who attempted to keep the church building in usable shape.

With the retirement of Dr. Larry Musselman and his wife, Frankie, who grew up in the church, the couple with some assistance restored the church and most recently directed the repair of the church’s foundation.

Located on Catholic Church Road, off of the Frankford-Williamsburg Road which intersects with US 219, nine miles north of I-64,  in the center of Frankford, the Church is approximately 4 ½ miles from US 219.

For further information on the First Saturday Devotions and daily Mass, contact the office of the Catholic Churches of the Greenbrier Valley, 304-536-1813 or the Alleghany Highlands Knights of Columbus 304-645-1373.

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