History of Place
The history of Christ’s presence here in the St. Jerome's boundaries includes the persons who have gone before us, and those who are to come. All continue to participate in this eternal work of grace.
St. Jerome's Parish was founded in 1886, when our area was still part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. It was the same year that the city of Hyattsville was established: what had been farmland until then was being developed as a suburb of Washington. At the time, the parish covered most of the area of Prince George's County that is now inside the Beltway and north of Route 50. St. Jerome's was broken off from St. Mary of the Mills in Laurel.
Construction of its first church began in the same year, and was completed in 1888. That church was located next to the current rectory, in what is now the lower parking lot. It stood until 1957. Plans were developed in the early 1920's for a much larger church, and its basement level was dedicated in 1925. It was at the opposite end of the lower parking lot, near the corner of Gallatin and 43rd Ave. Its planned upper level was never built. When the basement church was finished, the old church was converted to a parish hall. The "basement church" served St. Jerome's until the present building was erected between 1955 and 1957.
St. Jerome's served as the "mother church" for the area, and as Prince Georges County grew, several new parishes were broken off from it, beginning with: St. James in Mount Rainier in 1908, and concluding with St Mark's at the northern edge of Hyattsville in 1957.
St. Jerome's School was opened in 1943, staffed by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, who had been teaching Sunday school in the parish since 1914. Classes were held at first in the parish hall (the old church). Construction of a permanent school began after the parish purchased the Wheatley residence on the west side of 43rd Avenue, and the new school building was completed in 1947. The convent, just to the north of the school, was built in 1951. The present church and rectory complex came next; it was begun in 1955, and completed in 1957. The parish plant was completed with additions to the school in 1960.
In 1985, the lower floors of the convent were converted into St. Jerome's Child Center, which offers day care services for infants and toddlers.
Our church was one of the last churches in the area built in a traditional style-modified Romanesque. Its large stained glass windows, among its most striking features, were added in 1965. The large upper windows (except for those honoring the Blessed Mother and Saint Jerome) each represent one of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy; they also each honor lay saints. Read about the saints represented in the windows here.
At this time, about 700 families or households are enrolled in the parish. St. Jerome's is an exceptionally diverse community, and our parishioners include families who have lived here for three generations alongside people who are new to the community, and people who have come here from many nations around the world. We strive to make everyone fell equally at home in our parish family.