“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Coltons Point in St. Mary's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

“With a laudable and pious zeal...”

“for the propagation of the Christian faith”

"With a laudable and pious zeal..." Marker image. Click for full size.
By F. Robby, September 12, 2009
1. "With a laudable and pious zeal..." Marker
Inscription. A Catholic Mass, the first in English America, was celebrated here on March 25, 1634. It was a time of beginnings; the first day of the year on the old Julian Calendar and the Feast of the Annunciation.
Catholic leaders were determine to practice their religion as the planted their new Maryland Colony. They had left an England that was persecuting Catholics and a Europe racked by bloody religious wars.

Lord Baltimore, Cecil Calvert, instructed Catholic settlers to "treate the Protestants with as much mildness and favor as Justice will permitt." By 1649, the Maryland General Assembly made this policy official. The "Act Concerning Religion" declared that "no person or persons...professing beleeve in Jesus Christ...shall [be in] any waies troubled, molested or respect of his or her Religion." Seventeenth-century Maryland was a leader on the road to religious toleration.

[image of 1634 colonists on St. Clement's Island] "In this place on our b[lessed] ladies day in lent, we first offered [the sacrifice of the mass], erected a crosse, and with devotion took solemne possession of the Country." - Jesuit missionary and Maryland settler Father Andrew White, 1634.

A Homemade Symbol of Religious Toleration

In 1934, people gathered here on Maryland's 300th birthday
Marker and Cross image. Click for full size.
By F. Robby, September 12, 2009
2. Marker and Cross
to remember the first settlers and their quest for religious toleration. A 40-foot cross, pictured here from the island's lighthouse tower during the ceremonies, has been a landmark ever since. It was a home-grown monument, constructed during the Great Depression from 50-gallon oil barrels filled with cement and a plywood frame covered with stucco.

[photo of 1634 ceremonies]
Location. 38° 12.504′ N, 76° 44.663′ W. Marker is in Coltons Point, Maryland, in St. Mary's County. Marker can be reached from Point Breeze Road 0.2 miles east of Colton Point Road (Maryland Route 242). Touch for map. Marker is on St. Clements Island which is only accessibly by boat. A ferry operates on weekends from the St. Clement's Island Museum on Point Breeze Road. Marker is in this post office area: Coltons Point MD 20626, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. St. Clement's Island (a few steps from this marker); Welcome to St. Clement's Island (within shouting distance of this marker); A Target for Big Guns (within shouting distance of this marker); Blackistone Island Lighthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); " of the pleasantest summer resorts on the Potomac" (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Shrinking Island (about 600 feet away); Maryland Began Here! (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Welcome to St. Clement's Island (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Coltons Point.
Categories. 20th CenturyChurches & ReligionColonial EraLandmarksNotable EventsNotable PersonsSettlements & Settlers
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 7, 2009, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 660 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 7, 2009, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland.
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