Mary Immaculate is traced back to a day in May 1974, in Hollywood, Florida, when Father Michael Devaney, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, received a letter from his provincial in Boston. He was notified that he had been selected to start a mission church in West Palm Beach. Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll approved his assignment, which became effective in August 1974. Father Devaney was to begin daily Mass at Cardinal Newman High School Chapel as soon as possible with no financial support from St. John Fisher Parish or the Archdiocese of Miami. The mission would have to stand on its own.
The first Mass was celebrated September 26, 1974, at 10:00 a.m. with 56 present. Father Devaney announced that daily Mass would be celebrated at 7:30 AM. Three people came to the first daily Mass. Today many attend daily. Parishioners, eager to help, began caring for the homebound and identifying Catholic families in the neighborhood to invite them to the new parish. Within three weeks, many people were celebrating Sunday Mass, which made it necessary to move from the small chapel into the school cafeteria.
After a few months, the boundary lines for the new parish were established. By Fall of 1975, the parish was well-established, but parishioners wanted to identify with a permanent church of their own.
The Archbishop was petitioned to buy a rectory near Cardinal Newman High School property where someday a church would be built. In January 1977, Father Devaney, and Brother Henry Lemoncelli, moved into 237 Porter Place. Oblate Father Joseph Pucci, was assigned as the first associate pastor in Fall 1977, and there were more than 700 parish families.
In January 1980, a drive to raise funds for the new church was initiated by soliciting the support of parishioners and friends. On December 8, 1980, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the grounds for the new church were blessed and broken. On Holy Thursday, April 8, 1982, Holy Week services began in the new church location. On Easter Sunday more than 2,000 people celebrated Masses in Mary Immaculate’s new church, which was dedicated October 9, 1982.
In Fall 1982, Father Devaney, was replaced by Father Joseph Gigante, who stayed for a very short time but raised enough money to begin building a parish hall as already planned. During his stay a new rectory and hall were built in 1990.
In 1991, Mary Immaculate was blessed again with a new pastor, Father Francis H. Reardon, who with a handful of dedicated parishioners established the first pastoral council. Not long after, the Provincial of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the bishop decided for the benefit of all, that Mary Immaculate should be put under the care of the Diocese of Palm Beach.
On September 1, 1994, the pastoral care of the parish was turned over by the Oblates to the Diocese of Palm Beach, with the appointment of Father Timothy Lynch as the first diocesan pastor. Following Father Lynch, Father Joseph Kuczborski served a brief period as administrator of the parish.
On July 1, 2002, Father Tomasz Makowski was appointed pastor and continues present day.
In the brief history of Mary Immaculate, the parish had to face many challenges. Some were met with a great deal of success, such as the Skaff Center, church repairs and beautiful new chapel. With God’s grace, the challenges in the future will be met and by prayer, work and dedication, Mary Immaculate will continue to be a viable and active place of worship in God’s eyes.