In the year 1847 the Cassella parish was formed. The early settlers were German Immigrants and loyal Roman Catholics who had attended services at St. Rose Parish. As St. Rose parish grew, the settlers two miles west of St. Rose decided to form their own parish closer by so they wouldn’t have far to walk. They built a small log chapel they called Maria-Kapelle, the German name for church, parish and town. Maria-Kapelle was built directly west of the present Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary church and across from what is now Cassella-Montezuma Road.
During the first 10 years many priests attended to the needs of the parishioners. Since there was no parsonage, these priests resided at the Gatehouse near the Convent in Maria Stein and after 1849 at the Gruenenwald Convent, .5 miles south of Maria-Kapelle.
During the late summer of 1849 when the cholera plague ravaged the villages of Minster, Maria Stein and St. Rose, the people of Maria-Kapella went to their log church and prayed to St. Sebastian, the parish patron of the sick, to protect them from the cholera. Not one member of the parish died due to this plague.
The mission church was soon too small to take care of the increasing population. In 1858 a new brick church was constructed across the road from the log chapel where it currently stands.
By 1860 the town of Marysville was laid out in lots along the intersection of what is now Cassella-Montezuma Road and St. Rt. 119. Marysville included many mercantile buildings, the log chapel, and the post office. When applying for a post office, the German script K and P were translated into English C and S. Since this time Kapelle, has been Cassella. In June 1888, a fire almost destroyed the church. Four brick walls were all that remained. On March 17, 1889 Archbishop Elder blessed the reconstructed church.
In 1914, it was decided to enlarge the church by digging a basement to the south and to erect a sacristy above it. While digging, too much ground was removed from the foundation and suddenly early one morning the entire back part caved in. This catastrophe meant more work and more money for reconstruction accomplished in 1914. In 1915 the fire scarred outside walls of the 1858 church were covered in stucco. In 1928 a set of “Stations of the Cross” from Italy were placed in the church between the large stained glass windows to illustrate the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.
In 1970 the interior was cleaned and repainted and changes made in accordance with the liturgical changes of Vatican II.
In 1996 the parishioners of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary held a fund drive for several major improvements to their parish church. When all the pledges from the 104 parish families were returned there was more than enough money pledged to make the necessary improvements. A commitment and a true desire to continue their heritage for future generations were demonstrated by the pledges.
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s 150 year Parish Celebration was held in 1997 on the weekend of August 15-17. A kickoff Barn Dance was held on the farm of Mike and Kathy Broering, the original location of the Gruenenwald Convent. A historical display of the Parish and Parish life was displayed in the CCD Hall south of the church and a Mass of Thanksgiving and Celebration was said at 10:00am Sunday the 17th. Following at the Knights of St. John Hall in Maria Stein was a noon meal and the parish children performed various skits of our history. Parishioners also compiled an extensive history book.
In 1990, due to a shortage of priests in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, it became necessary to combine with St. Rose parish and have one priest for two parishes. It was decided the priest would reside in St. Rose and a Mass schedule was created to fulfill the spiritual needs of the two parishes.
The parsonage of Nativity, erected in 1902, was converted into a parish center in the early 1990s. This Parish Center is used as a meeting place and location for religious education for the parish youth age 4 years thru seniors in high school. A Sunday Pre-School Program is offered 8 times a year from October to May. School age parishioners receive religious education on Wednesday evenings in the Parish Center or CCD Building south of the church. High lights of the program are Vacation Bible School held in July for ages Kindergarten thru sixth; Holy Week in an Hour performed by the high school students for grades 1st thru 4th using the entire parsonage, grounds and church as their stage to depict Jesus’ last few days of life and His resurrection. Sixteen dedicated parishioners teach religious education to the youth of Nativity. The program is a success because of this dedication as well as the tremendous support of the families and students, which results in near perfect attendance each week of classes.
In 2001 a “Paint Committee” was formed to create plans for and feasibility of painting the interior of the church. A plan was proposed and accepted by the parishioners with generous financial support.
Nativity Parish numbers 105 parish families. Several groups and committees offer support and outreach for each parishioner. Nativity has a Men’s Sodality; Ladies Sodality; Catholic Youth Organization (partnered with St. Rose youth) Bereavement Committee; Welcoming Committee; Liturgical Committee and CCD Board.
In 2003, as the reality of lack of priests within the Archdiocese grows, the Nativity Parish realizes it must be positively involved in the formation of the Marion Cluster. The Marion Cluster will be comprised of St. Rose, St. Sebastian, Precious Blood (Chickasaw), St. Johns and Nativity who someday will share one priest. Nativity shares a common concern that the identity of their parish and that of the other parishes involved in the clustering be maintained. While each of these five parishes hold many common bonds they are committed to the heritage and the treasure of their unique parish.
The following was written by: Juanita Buening of Nativity during the 150thAnniversary Celebration. “Here I have seen almost a pioneer spirit. A feeling of having found something, a freedom, a being a part of the land, of fighting to keep something that belongs to you, that you, or your family before you, has founded, settled, and you don’t want to give it up. So many become involved in order to keep it; I am referring to the lay people’s involvement in the parish to keep it alive, and not see it closed. A common uniting, in order to save the church and to many of the people, the church is as much a part of who and what they are as the land and farm which belong to them, and maybe even their ancestors. It has become to them as much a home as their own houses, the church here is much more to its parishioners then just a place to go to mass on Sunday.”
The members of the Marion Catholic Community, given life through the Holy Spirit in Baptism, are called together as a community of faith to praise and worship God our Creator and to proclaim in word and deed the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.
As members of the Body of Christ we strive to serve all to provide an atmosphere of hospitality which enables all to respond fully to the life-long challenge "to do right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
© COPYRIGHT 2016. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.