Parish History

The first Mass in Orion occurred in 1906 at the home of Daniel Keleher by Fr. M.F. Foley from St. Malachy's in Geneseo. Masses were set up for the 5th Sunday of the month. Orion became an out mission in 1924. By 1925 parishioners had outgrown meeting in homes and arrangements were made to rent an upstairs hall above the grocery store in Orion. Masses were held there for 35 years.

Groundbreaking for Mary, Our Lady of Peace church occurred on July 5, 1959. In 1963, Mary Our Lady of Peace became a parish. Fr. Cornelius Hollerich was assigned the first pastor.  Father Hollerich’s vision to add a hall and classrooms was accomplished by 1974. Fr. Hollerich served 34 years until his passing in 1996.

Fr. Mike Schaab was assigned Pastor of Mary our Lady of Peace in 1996. Under his leadership, a Renovation Team was formed to update our building space. The church underwent renovation for one year beginning in June 2001. Bishop Daniel Jenky rededicated the church in June 2002. The Gala Committee was formed to raise funds for the renovation.  The renovation debt was retired in 2014.   

Fr. Ray Guthrie was the pastor of both Mary, Our Lady of Peace and St. Maria Goretti, Coal Valley from 2005 to 2007.  Fr. James DeBisschop became pastor of Mary Our Lady of Peace and St. Maria Goretti Parish in June 2007. Fr. DeBisschop was diagnosed with cancer in November of 2012 and the severe nature of his illness necessitated he take a leave of absence. During his treatment and recovery Mary, Our Lady of Peace was administered by Fr. Deo Gracias and then Fr. Anthony Bernas.

Fr. Jim was able to return to his pastoral duties in the summer of 2014 and currently serves as the pastor of Mary, Our Lady of Peace and its sister parish, St. Maria Goretti.

Mary, Our Lady of Peace has also welcomed the service of several SMA (Society of African Missions) priests in recent years. These include Fr. Nimorious (Nimo) Damanzing, Fr. Paulin Kouassi and Fr. Mike Adrie.

Additionally, Mary, Our Lady of Peace has been blessed since 2012 with the dedicated service of Deacon Tom Gainey who currently serves at both St. Maria Goretti and Mary, Our Lady of Peace.