Our Vision Statement Diverse in age, talents, and experience, we, the faith community of Saint Maria Goretti Parish, envision ourselves building God's Kingdom within and without. Centered in the Eucharist, we actively participate in education and leadership. United, we reach out to our neighbors with the love of Christ. History: St. Maria Goretti Parish was first founded as a mission of St. Ambrose Church, Milan, in 1965 during the pastorate of Father John Callahan. During WWII Fr. Callahan had served in the Army in Italy. While there he developed a personal devotion to the highly popular Italian, Maria Goretti. Once, when he was in a tight spot Father promised "if I get the chance I'm going to name a church after St. Maria Goretti. We were granted parish status in 1972, and our present church building was dedicated on September 9, 1984. In 2003 we number roughly 400 families in membership. In 1879 the first Catholic church in Coal Valley was built. However that church was struck by lighting and destroyed during a severe thunderstorm. It wasn't until 1967 when the mission reorganized that Catholics again had worship in Coal Valley. The original church building was purchased from Trinity Lutheran Church in 1967, and became a mission under Father Callahan. The Lutheran parsonage, built in 1945, became the rectory, where Father Callahan's assistant, Father Raymond Lukoskie lived. On June 1, 1972 a Parish was formed. Father Robert Schladen served as the first Pastor, and was succeeded by Father Joseph Nickerson in 1976. Father Duane Jack took over the parish in 1981. In 1984 the old church building was demolished, and our present building was dedicated. The original church seated only 150 parishoners. In 1984 our membership roster recorded 268 families. During the year of construction Mass was celebrated at Trimble Funeral Home. The new church was dedicated on September 9, 1984 by Bishop Edward O'Rourke. The current structure seats 360, and retains many elements of the former building. The cross which adorns the altar, was made from timber from the old church, and the original stained glass windows were reframed. In 1991 we were joined by Father Harold (Harry) Schmitt. Father Richard (Dick) Bresnahan arrived in 1994, and served until his retirement in 2002. Father Michael Schaab was St. Maria Goretti's administrator from 2002 until 2004. Father Raymond Guthrie became pastor in June 2004 and shares his time between the St. Maria Goretti Parish in Coal Valley and Mary Our Lady of Peace in Orion.