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Mass, reception will conclude Catholic high school sesquicentennial

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The Peoria Catholic Diocese will conclude its year-long celebration of Catholic secondary education in Peoria with a mass and reception Saturday afternoon.

A mass will be conducted at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, 607 NE Madison Ave., at 4 p.m. Saturday. A catered reception will follow at the Spalding Pastoral Center at 419 NE Madison from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Bishop Daniel Jenky will conduct the mass.

The Diocese and Peoria Notre Dame High School have been observing the 150 years of Catholic high schools since last fall.

The first Catholic high school in Peoria was established in April 1863 by Father Abram Ryan, then pastor of St .Mary's Church, who brought in seven Sisters of the Order of St. Joseph of Carondelet in St. Louis. It was a high school for girls set up in a two-room frame house on Jefferson Street between Hancock and Bryan streets.

The first Catholic high school for boys, Spalding Institute. Opened in September 1901.

The year-long sesquicentennial celebration started in September last year with the groundbreaking and dedication of land at Willow Knolls and Allen Roads that will first hold Peoria Notre Dame's news sports complex and eventually a new high school.