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Parish History

Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
Established 1847
1600 households

Initially, the first Waterbury Catholics were the mission responsibility of Hartford's Father James Fitton. Pastoral jurisdiction then passed to the care of New Haven. In 1845, the Catholics rented Washington Hall at the corner of Exchange Place and West Main Street. On November 1, 1847, the mission was created a parish initially under the patronage of St. Peter, with Father Michael O'Neil named first pastor. A vacated Episcopal church was purchased and moved to a location on East Main Street, opening for Mass on Christmas Day 1847. On July 5, 1857, the cornerstone of a new church was blessed and dedicated in December by Bishop Francis P. McFarland. St. Peter's was renamed to honor the recently proclaimed dogma of the Immaculate Conception. In 1863, the pastor converted the old church into a parochial school, staffed by laymen and women. Father John A. Mulcahy built St. Mary School, dedicated on September 4, 1888 by Bishop Lawrence S. McMahon and staffed by the Sisters of Charity. In 1907, Father William J. Slocum organized the initiative to build St. Mary Hospital, the cornerstone of which was blessed on September 22 by Bishop Michael A. Tierney. Father William McGurk chaired the citywide committee of Catholic clergy and laymen to build Waterbury Catholic High School, which opened in 1926. He also undertook the construction of a new church, which was dedicated on May 20, 1928, by Bishop John J. Nilan.
Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
74 West Main Street, Waterbury CT 06702
Telephone: 203-574-0017   Fax: 203-756-8748
Deanery: Waterbury
Vicariate: Waterbury