1834 St. Peter Catholic Church corner stone was laid and building began under Father Timothy Ryan.
Prior to 1833, Mass was said in homes of some of the residents. The Irish immigrants working on the C & O Canal swelled the Catholic population to 150. Land was purchased from Jonathan Rowland for $175 and deeded to Most Reverend Samuel Eccleston, Archbishop of Baltimore.
Built by canal laborers at no labor cost, materials were provided by Philip P. Fitsgerald, the contractor for the canal. Also, the Ryan, Baxter, Broidrick, McAvory, and Little families.
The name St. Peter was chosen after the older residents wanted St. Timothy (for Fr. Timothy Ryan) and the Irish canal workers wanted St. Patrick; Father Ryan figured no one would argue about naming the church after the first pope. St. Peter Catholic Church was dedicated in 1835.
The Little Orleans area had a Catholic population of over 80 souls in 1800. Father Nicholas Zacchey the non resident pastor of St. Mary's in Hagerstown built the Mass House in 1807. The cost of its construction was paid by pledges, totaling $96. It was used as a base of operations for the priest traveling to Pittsburgh, Cumberland, and Wheeling. The Mass House was located down the hill form the cemetery, which was deeded Mary 31, 1808, as "Church Lot". The cemetery had already been used as a Catholic Cemetery for over 30 years by this time.
The Church we know as St. Patrick was realized by a large donation from Elizabeth Lady Stafford, grand-daughtger of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and the Callans, Bevans and Shircliff families; constructed and dedicated under Father John C. Gloyd in 1860.
Updating Sts. Peter's and Patrick’s Church History:
Father Paul G. Witthauer talked about when he first arrived and the apple blossoms scented the air. "I felt like I had died and gone to heaven." He also said "The people here were serious about their faith".
Father Witthauer began the parish council. He began youth activities, skiing and parties, youth would come and decorate the Christmas tree in the rectory and then have a party. The parish joined in the annual parade with the altar boys carrying a banner, and they also had two popes in the parade.
It was during this time Sister Emily and the School Sisters of Notre Dame would come to Hancock in the summer and teach. Also at this time the parish began a building program to add to the parish hall for all the activities and the Religious Education Program. Father was then to go and build a new church in Walkersville. (1974-1980)
Bill Schoenadel was on the Parish Council for 4-5 years along with Lorraine Mc- Cusker. During this time the side entrance for the handicapped was added to St. Peter’s.
Bill helped with designing the back wall behind the altar at St. Patrick’s; it was during this time when the old altar and statues were removed.
Father Glick -1980, until he died, May 15, 2000 faithfully served the people in Hancock and Little Orleans. Father Glick took over the building program. The "first" addition to the hall was conceived in thought by Fr. Whithauer [just before he left] and was brought to completion under Fr. Glick. We had a building fund campaign to finance it and the Archdiocese was fully aware of it. When Fr. Glick decided the "first" addition was still not big enough, he had the "second" piece added. There was no "special campaign" for it and that was the portion the Archdiocese was not aware of until it was completed. The second piece is the west end that resembles the original hall building [that now holds the kitchen].
Mass was said only once a month at St. Patrick’s and then later, twice a month.
In 1985, Father Glick began the weekly Mass schedule for St. Patrick’s.
Father Joseph Cosgrove came to our parish in 2000 after Father Glick’s death.
The first thing he did as pastor was celebrate a funeral at St. Patrick. Father Cosgrove increased the activities of the parish council. Father Joe began Holy Hour, once a week. He was responsible for the annual altar server’s day at the ball park in Hagerstown. Also under Fr. Joe, much need renovations to the parish rectory were brought to completion [started just after Fr. Glick's death]. Father was always ready to celebrate the holidays with some special foods and drinks. He had a lot of fun at the Parish picnics.
Father John Lesnick was to come in 2006 and stay until he transferred to Belmont Abbey, NC and is now in Frederick, MD. Father Lesnick was responsible for the new "midi" box added to the organ, making it possible to have the organ music at all masses even if the organist is not available. He also had the repair work on the steps to the hall and the sidewalks. He had cabinetry added to the priest sacristy. Father Lesnick was known to travel great distances to visit a sick parishioner when in the hospital. Father Lesnick got the ball rolling in getting activities for the Anniversaries of both St. Peters and St. Patrick’s started. Father John is famous for his organizational skills.
Father Jack Lombardi began here June 1, 2009. He has encouraged parishioners to become active in many new mission fields, including praying in front of the abortion mill in Hagerstown, adopting the unborn children. He has had meetings with young parishioners about a possible vocation in religious life, and arranged to have young men from the parish meet with the Archbishop for this purpose. Father Jack has started the weekly adoration from 8:00am – 8:00pm on Thursday.
1. Rev . Augustine Fromback
2. Rev. Dennis Cahill
3. Rev. Demetrius Gallitzin
4. Rev. Nicholas Zacchey – 1807 signed document stating that he is fthe first signer "fort the purpose of erecting a house for Divine Worship for the Roman Catholicks near Said (Fifteen Mile) Creek."
5. Rev. James M. Redmond
6. Rev. Timothy Ryan (built St. Peters, and is buried in front of St. Marys)
7. Rev. Michael Guth
8. Rev. Henry Myers (built St. Thomas in Mooresville)
9. Rev. Joseph John Maguire (assistant pastor to Fr. Myers and buried in front of St. Marys "his signature if one of the only to be found in the early records of St. Peter’s during the 1st eight months of 1851"
10. Rev. James Carney (1st resident pastor 1853-1855)
11. Rev. Henry Myers (same person as above 1855-1857)
12. Rev. C.M. O’Reilly (1856)
13. Rev. George Flautt (1857-1858)
14. Rev. James McDevitt (1858-1860)
15. Rev. John C. Gloyd (1860, built St. Patrick’s, "from Sept. to Dec.1861 St. Mary was a Misson of St. Peter’s."
16. Rev. Michael Dausch (1863-1869 "It was he who originated the Total Abstinence Society in the Hancock parish,…which procured the stained glass windows in the church."
17. Rev. John M. Jones (1869-1871 "Pastor of St. Mary’s was given charge of the whole of Washington County"
18. Rev. Damer (1869-1871 assisted Rev. Jones)
19. Rev. Stanislaus F. Ryan (1871 "Pastor St. Peter’s and 3 missions, by the end of the year he switched places with Rev. Charles Damer assistant pastor at St. Patrick’s in Cumberland"
20. Rev. Charles Damer (1871-1881)
21. Rev. Peter Weider (1881-1886)
22. Rev. John B. Manley (1886-1889 – published, The Life of St. Anthony
23. Rev. Theodore D. Mead (1889-1890)
24. Rev. Thomas E. Lyons (1890-1896)
25. Rev. Francis A.B. Wunnenberg (1896-1897)
26. Rev. Romanus Mattingly (1897-1904)
27. Rev. Henry S. Nagengast (1904-1910 is listed in the publication Who’s Who of the 19th Century)
28. Rev. Thomas Reinhart (1910-1927, pastor for 17 years,"1985 he had baptized 1/5 of the congregation at St. Peter’s" He built the rectory & Parish Hall in 1910)
29. Rev. William E. Kelly (1927-1933)
30. Rev. Francis P. Ryan (1933-1938)
31. Rev. J. Ambrose Quinn (1938-1942)
32. Rev. James M. Hogan (1942-1944)
33. Rev. Raymond P. Kelly (1944-1946)
34. Rev. Charles B. Monmonier (1947-1950)
35. Rev. Cornelius J. Byrnes (April to September 1950 "asked to be transferred after being in Hancock only three days and after the 1st trip over the back roads to Little Orleans.")
36. Rev. Thomas W. Caulfield (September 1950-1953)
37. Monsignor Daniel McGrath (1953-1957)
38. Rev. John t. Kerr (1957-1961 "the 5 years he spent at Hancock and Little Orleans were the happiest years of his life.")
39. Rev. Charles H. Quinn (1961-1965)
40. Rev. Linus E. Robinson (1965-1974)
41. Rev. Paul G. Witthauer (1974-1980)
42. Rev. George W. Glick (1980- May 15, 2000)
43. Rev. Joseph Cosgrove (2000-2006)
44. Rev. John Lesnick (2006-June 1 2009)
45. Rev. John Lombardi (June 1 2009 - )