NORTH PLAINS — Members of St. Edward Church here celebrated 100 years since the Catholic parish was established in their town.
Archbishop John Vlazny celebrated Mass before a church filled to capacity, and then members of the parish — past and present — shared memories and a meal, and danced a bit to live musical entertainment.
“Everything was absolutely marvelous,” said Nancy Vandehey, administrative assistant and director of religious education at the church.
A display of nearly 200 photos that covered a century of history was a draw for many of the revelers.
“People were looking at the pictures, and telling stories of what was happening the day the picture was taken,” Vandehey said. “People were being identified from the few pictures that didn’t have names. They were figuring out who’s who and how they fit into the community.”
Parishioner Carol Gutmann was in charge of collecting all the images, which she enlarged and laminated for the display. There were pictures from the parish’s early years all the way up to the 2010 Christmas bazaar.
“I could see people were enjoying looking at the past fathers in the parish that they knew, relatives and friends, and some of the very early folks who they remembered later as being elderly people,” Gutmann said. “They loved the wedding photos and first Communion photos, seeing all their friends and themselves there.”
Volunteers also compiled a parish history.
St. Edward, whose pastor today is Bishop Kenneth Steiner, was established as a mission in 1911 by Archbishop Alexander Christie. Fundraising was slow, with one parishioner driving from house to house in a horse-drawn buggy to solicit funds, but a church was completed in 1915. It seated 85.
Many priests served from 1915 to 1953, traveling from Forest Grove or St. Mary’s Boys Home in Beaverton. Sisters of St. Mary came to teach religious education.
Finally, in 1953, Father William Delplanche was assigned as the first resident priest and on Aug. 27 of that year, St. Edward became an independent parish.
Attendance grew, and the need for a new church arose in the 1960s. The new St. Edward, with a capacity of more than 500, was dedicated in 1966 by Archbishop Edward Howard.
Also shared in the history were tidbits of parish life. The first baptism was for Cecilia Susana Kies on Jan. 31, 1915. The first wedding Mass was for Clarence and Eva Meek on March 24, 1918, and the first funeral Mass was celebrated for Anton Persinger on May 30, 1919.
Children of the parish planted 100 bulbs, daffodils, crocuses and tulips, which bloomed in time for the party. The youngsters also created a collage with 100 different fingerprints.
After a huge meal, attendees snacked on desserts, candies and cookies prepared by bakers and confectioners in the parish.
Many of the treats were recipes representing the history of locals. There were Dutch desserts like ont bij koek, anise seed honey cakes, and speculaas, an almond-flavored biscuit. Eaters also tasted krumkake, Norwegian waffle cookies.
Celebration organizers also plan to bury a time capsule that will be filled with photos, coins, a program of the day’s events and other souvenirs.
“We were really pleased with the way people received the whole celebration,” said Mary Spiering, chairwoman of the organizing committee.