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St. Mary's of the Rock celebrates 100th Grotto Mass

Traditions continue a decade after church closure

(St. Mary's, Ind.) -- The Archdiocese of Indianapolis announced the closure of 12 Catholic churches in Southeast Indiana in 2013.


St. Mary's of the Rock in Franklin County was among those churches.


A decade later, parishioners are keeping several traditions alive including the annual grotto mass.


More than a century ago, a priest asked the parish to bring boulders and stones from their farms in order to build a grotto behind the church.


That was a major ask back when everything was done by hand and travel was conducted by horse-and-buggy.


Nevertheless, the parish responded with boulders and the grotto was constructed in 1922.


The following year, St. Mary's observed the Feast of Assumption with an outdoor mass at the grotto on August 15, 1923.


That tradition has continued every August 15.


On Tuesday, nearly 200 people attended the 100th annual Feast of Assumption mass at the grotto.


A few churchgoers said it has only rained once in the past 100 years during the service.


St. Mary's of the Rock is also continuing other longtime traditions such as the Turkey Supper in October and the church breakfast on the first weekend in December.

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