The first Frenchville Picnic was held in 1870 to celebrate the completion of the new church, St. Mary’s Assumption.
The first church structure was a wooden building, which met the spiritual needs of the Catholic immigrant community who settled in the Covington Township area, as early as the 1830’s.
The parish picnic has been held every year since the present stone edifice’s dedication. The native sandstone was quarried two miles north of the church, on Leon Coudriet’s property.
The photo shown was taken at the quarry. The labor-intensive stone cutting was done by manual workers and the blocks were hauled by horse and wagon.
The church is the one of the oldest in the Catholic Diocese of Erie and the oldest church building still in use. In 1892, enough money had been raised to erect the steeple.
Unfortunately, the church, sitting at a high point on the hill, became a natural conductor and the steeple has been stuck by lighting four times. The last time was on June 16, 1945.
This weekend, St. Mary of the Assumption Church will be celebrating with its 149th annual picnic.
The public can come and listen to the music and enjoy the dinner in the picnic grove behind the stone church. You might even hear a whisper of French!