Centennial of St. Mary's noted Sunday
KINGMAN - Hundreds of God's children gathered Sunday for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Kingman.
The air carried a true sense of peace as elderly couples were seen holding hands, children ran about and strangers embraced and exchanged the common Catholic blessing: "may peace be with you."
People lined up following Mass to receive the Holy Eucharist, the flesh and blood of Christ. This ritual, believed by Catholics to be the literal body and blood of their Savior, is practiced every Sunday at the church. But not so common was the occasion on which communion was taken. This past Sunday was the church's 100-year anniversary.
Construction of Kingman's own St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church commenced in July of 1906. When the original stone building was going up in August and September, it was rumored by the locals that St. Mary's would be "one of the handsomest buildings on the line of the Santa Fe Railroad," according to an old newspaper clipping.
The locally quarried tufa stone was laid in the classic "mission revival" style. Sixty years later, as numbers grew and the reputation of St. Mary's spread throughout northwest Arizona, a new church was erected to house the new followers. In 1991, the original church was restored and renovated into the current museum and gift shop.
Sunday's celebration featured Mantachina Dancers, who honored the Blessed Mother, and a turkey dinner with all the fixings.