Leonardtown, MD — The nearly 300-year-old St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Compton has an important piece of its history back.

St. Clement’s Island Museum has returned historic communion rail back to its original home at the church building.

The current church building dates back to 1731, but the original church community established by the Jesuits as a mission in 1640, and erected as an independent parish in 1661.

The communion rail, built by Ted Neskovich, the brother-in-law of a parishioner, was donated by the builder as a gift to St. Francis Xavier Parish sometime between 1961 and 1964.

Around 1984, the communion rail was given to St. Clement’s Island Museum when the parish completed a restoration project for the church building. Since then, it has remained a prominent exhibit piece under the care of  staff at St. Clement’s Island Museum.

Now, it has returned home to the church for which it was made – even perfectly matching the kneelers, which were also constructed by the same craftsman.

The current museum building will be replaced by a new facility with new exhibits in the next few years and that sparked the idea that it was time to return the communion rail to its original home.

As thanks for over 30 years of caretaking, the parish and its pastor, Reverend Robert G. Maro, extended their gratitude by donating $350 to the museum at a ceremony on September 8.