In 1953, the parishioners realized they needed larger and safer church and school facilities. The Macklin property, consisting of 28 acres and located about a mile from St. Mary’s, was for sale. In 1955, the parish began a fund-raising drive to purchase the property.
Once the cash was raised, Archbishop Keough granted permission in 1957 to build a one-story, four-classroom school with a basement for a “temporary” church. The parish began a second fund-raising effort on December 8, 1957. A month later, they broke ground for the new building. Fr. Maurice McDonald celebrated the first Mass in the new temporary church on September 2 but that temporary church wasn’t so temporary, serving as the parish for 27 years.
1950 – present
In the 1960’s, the church pastor, Fr. Joseph Comyns, added a second story to the school and extended the church. A kitchen also was added in 1963-64.
In 1968, a fire tragically destroyed the lower house and former church and school.
Four years later, the Redemptorists closed St. Mary’s College and put the property up for sale. Meanwhile, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur announced that they could no longer staff the school. Fr. Lawrence Lover, the pastor at the time, asked the Franciscan sisters of Sylvania, Ohio to take over the school. The new sisters arrived on June 25, 1973.
Then, the parish turned its attention to the construction of a new rectory and convent. The pastor, Fr. Donald Lindsay, spearheaded a fund-raising drive to raise the necessary cash. The new buildings were completed in 1978.
Only one task remanded: constructing a new, permanent church. Fr. Francis Nelson, then pastor, took care of that. Construction was completed in 1985, and the dedication Mass was celebrated on November 24. The parish turned the temporary church into a parish hall, now called Harrison Hall, in honor of then pastor, Fr. John Harrison.
From 1985 until 1996, the Redemptorists continued to staff the church as they had done for 100 years. 1996, however, marked the end of an era for the parish, with the withdrawal of the Redemptorists Priests who found they could no longer staff the parish. At the same time, the Franciscan Sisters of Sylvania withdrew.
The parish community expressed heartfelt appreciation to the many priests and sisters who had served so long over the many years with such love, zeal and commitment. The good they had accomplished for so many was tremendous.
In August of 2007, Cardinal Keeler named, Father Erik Arnold as Pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Fr. Arnold was assisted by Fr. John Rapisarda, Associate Pastor.
The main school building went under a major renovation during the summer of 2008. Structural curtain walls, new windows, exterior brick, heating and cooling and data port improvements were completed in time for the opening of the 2008-2009 school year.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help has experienced tremendous growth, as has the rest of Ellicott City and surrounding Howard County communities. It is certain, much has changed in OLPH’s 100 year history but the desire to offer area children an excellent education grounded in the love of Christ has remained unchanged.
In 2013, OLPH received a Knott grant to transform its existing library into an interactive learning center (iLC). The mission of the iLC is to engage student learning through interactive instructional technologies. Students use our advanced digital learning environment to complete authentic, age-appropriate, cross-curricular activities and projects. Our teachers are engaged in ongoing professional development to incorporate new instructional technologies into their curriculum.