(E) St. Mary's Preservation Society
P.O. Box 7585
Steelton, PA 17113
St. Mary's Preservation Society
Preserving Croatian Heritage
We are a group of people supporting the preservation of Croatian culture and tradition in our communities,
in our homes and in our church.
The Croatian community here in Central PA. came into being in the 1890's. Most of the Croatian people that
migrated to this area ended up in Steelton, and the community grew.
In the early days, a Croatian priest came to the area to minister to the Croatian Catholic community and in
1898, he was given permission to establish the second Croatian Catholic church in America. On October 28,
1898, the church was dedicated in a solemn ceremony to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The
church and the parish came to be known as St. Mary's .
The Bishop of Harrisburg contacted the Franciscan Friars for Croatian speaking priests to serve the faithful.
They served the parish until the suppression in 1995.
In 1954, Fra. Vilim Primorac, a Croatian Franciscan assigned to our parish, realized that the traditions
brought here by the Croatian immigrants were still very much alive. He wanted to add more of the
Croatian culture to these traditions and started the musical song and dance group known as 'KOLO CLUB
MARIAN'. The group is still in existence today.