The Northwest's largest community of traditional Catholics is celebrating 50 years of growth with a series of events this week in North Idaho.
The 50th Jubilee events honoring the dedication of Immaculate Conception Church feature an all-day symposium on Saturday, December 10. Bishop Bernard Fellay will be the keynote speaker at the symposium, which is titled Catholic Tradition in the Northwest United States. The all-day symposium in Post Falls is sold out but can be watched online at no cost.
The church’s 50th anniversary is Thursday December 8, which will be celebrated by a candlelit procession that evening after Mass. Other anniversary events this week include an Advent concert performed by the students of Immaculate Conception Academy on the evening of Friday December 9, and a sold-out banquet at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds on Sunday December 11.
Fr. Vicente Griego, the Prior of Immaculate Conception Church, which is served by the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) said of the Jubilee:
We wish to celebrate the fifty-year history of Immaculate Conception Church, which has been a center of Catholic Tradition in the Pacific Northwest from which priests and religious have gone out to serve individuals, families and communities in the single desire to live faithfully the life Jesus Christ preached and exemplified, by teaching perennial Catholic doctrine and morals, while sustaining this divine work by the Sacraments given us by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We wish to give thanks to God for His abundant blessings and to strengthen the fraternal and supernatural ties between the many souls who are spiritually nourished at Immaculate Conception Church, whereby we share our joys, sorrows, accomplishments and even failures in mutual support to persevere and advance in the love of God
Priests at Immaculate Conception priory serve the needs of the faithful in three Northwest states: Idaho, Washington and Montana. Missions are located in the cities of Post Falls, St. Maries, Ferdinand, and New Plymouth, Spokane, Edmunds, Kalispell, and Victor.
At a time when many modern Catholic churches are facing decline in Mass attendance or even closures, the number of traditional Catholics in the Northwest continues to grow rapidly, from which come many young vocations to the Catholic Priesthood and the Religious life.
Approximately 600 families are affiliated with the Post Falls church, where priests of the Society of St. Pius X celebrate seven Sunday Masses in the immediate Post Falls area, including at nearby St. Dominic School and the Carmel of the Most Holy Trinity in Spokane. Those are attended by about 1,750 people on Sundays.
A Brief History:
The community of faithful that formed around Immaculate Conception Church started humbly: in the basement of a retired priest in Spokane, Washington. A handful of Catholics who hoped to preserve the Tridentine Rite of Mass (in Latin) in 1969 had persuaded Fr. Edward DeBusschere to turn his basement into a makeshift chapel, which the congregation soon outgrew.
Providentially, the construction of Interstate 90 in Post Falls required the removal of a small Catholic church. On September 6, 1972, John O'Neill purchased the church and paid to move the church to its new home in Post Falls soon after. Three months later, Fr. DeBusschere dedicated it as Immaculate Conception Church.
In 1975 the parish established a co-ed school, Immaculate Conception Academy, with an initial enrollment of only 17 children. By 1988 the school had grown to 62 students.
The prominence of north Idaho as a fast-growing traditional Catholic center attracted the Dominican Sisters of Fanjeaux (France). They chose Post Falls as the home for their first U.S. K-12 girls' school in 1991. That allowed the parish academy to become an all-boys school, and later a high school. A new building was completed on St. Patrick's Day in 1998 to allow for more students. Today there are 176 boys enrolled in the Academy, with about the same number of girls at St. Dominic Girls School.
Details on this week’s events including how to watch Saturday’s live-streamed symposium can be found here: https://icc.id.sspx.org/en/icc-jubilee
50th Jubilee Press Contact
Jake Eberlein (208) 659-8665 [email protected]
Immaculate Conception Church Media
High-resolution photos, including images showing the original ICC church being moved to its new home 50 years ago, can be downloaded here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/yXwLWu2LQoNYyjGS6