St. Mary's Parish
St. Mary's Catholic Church -- 600 Avenue B Sterling, IL 61081 -- Call 815-625-0640 -- Rev. James Keenan- Pastor


Communion for the Shut-ins
Please contact Sally Kellen at
(815) 626-3965, if you or a family member cannot attend Mass and would like to have the Eucharist brought to your home.  Additionally, there are teams that take the Eucharist to individuals at Coventry Village, Heritage Woods, and Sterling Pavilion. (Please note that Good Neighbor is covered by Sacred Heart Church.)   If you are a Eucharistic Minister who is interested in participating in this ministry please contact Sally Kellen at (815)626-3965 for further information.

First Communion for Children
St. Mary's requires that all candidates preparing for First Communion be enrolled either in a Catholic School or Religious Education Program for one year prior to receiving the sacrament.  Additionally, the child is expected to attend Mass regularly and have an interest or desire to receive the sacrament.  The child additionally participates in a retreat. The candidate must be in second grade or older. This sacrament is celebrated in April.  For further information contact Gerry Williamson, Coordinator of Religious Education, at (815)625-6688 or by email at

First Communion for Adults
Adults interested in completing their initiation in the Catholic Church by receiving the sacraments of Eucharist (Holy Communion) and Confirmation need to participate in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). The group meets on Wednesday at 6:00 PM in the Parish Center. 
Contact Jane Olson at the Parish office at (815)625-0640 x220 for more information.

The Sacrament of the Eucharist in the Catholic Church Jesus said: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; ...he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and ... abides in me, and I in him" (John 6:51, 54, 56).

One of the seven sacraments of the Church, indeed the greatest of the sacraments, described by the Church in this way:

"The Most Holy Eucharist is the most august sacrament, in which Christ the Lord himself is contained, offered and received, and by which the Church constantly lives and grows. The Eucharistic Sacrifice, the memorial of the death and resurrection of the Lord, in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated over the centuries, is the summit and the source of all Christian worship and life; it signifies and affects the unity of the people of God and achieves the building up of the Body of Christ. The other sacraments and all the ecclesiastical works of the apostolate are closely related to the Holy Eucharist and are directed to it." -- Canon Law 897.

Although the Eucharist is one sacrament, there are three essential aspects to which the Church points: (1) sacrifice; (2) communion; (3) Real Presence of Christ.

The Church calls the faithful to respond in faith to these three aspects of the Eucharist:

"The faithful are to hold the Eucharist in highest honor, taking part in the celebration of the Most August Sacrifice, receiving the sacrament devoutly and frequently, and worshiping it with supreme adoration...." -- Canon Law 898.