6/6/2014 11:08:00 AM Coastal church observes 65th anniversary
Photo courtesy of Benton County Historical Museum
Chapel after reconstruction as St. Augustine
St. Augustine Parish photo
Clarice Morris stands next to display about her wedding at St. Augustine Parish’s 65th anniversary.
LINCOLN CITY - St. Augustine Parish observed the 65th anniversary of its dedication May 15. The building, a former Camp Adair chapel, was transported in 1948 from the Army training post north of Corvallis, then reconstructed on its current site.
The day began with the celebration of Mass by Father Joseph Sebasty, pastor. Later in the church hall, Bob Herman, church cantor sang the National Anthem. Father Sebasty said a prayer of thanks and proclaimed the church a beacon for Catholic residents and visitors; he invited fallen away Catholics to return home to the church.
Parishioner Claudette Schroeder gave a brief history of the church’s founding. In 1925, Father Charles Raymond acquired 80 acres of land in the Devil’s Lake area, which he subdivided to finance the church and rectory construction, she said. Named Raymond Town, the area was later renamed Oceanlake, then Lincoln City. The original church, built by Father Raymond and members of the Mercier family, was small —20 feet by 40 feet — and served the parish for 24 years.
Keynote speaker John Harvard Baker, author of “Camp Adair, The Story of a World War II Cantonment” shared these facts about Camp Adair: the Post covered 65,000 acres; the construction of 1,800 buildings took less than six months; and the project was completed under budget at $32 million. The Post trained more than 100,000 soldiers; treated casualties at the hospital complex after the war; even housed POWs. He also shared that the 11 chapels built at Camp Adair were saved from demolition at the end of the War. These chapels were made available to communities for churches and as a war memorial.
Father Otto Scheffold acquired the Camp Adair chapel for the coastal parish. William Merzenich and his son, Matthias, reconstructed the church. According to Michael Merzenich, grandson of William, the Merzenich family built several Catholic churches in the Archdiocese of Portland.
Archbishop Edward Howard dedicated the church on May 15, 1949, and conducted the first Confirmation. Two of the confirmed attended the anniversary event. Donald and Clarice Morris were one of the early couples to be joined in the Sacrament of Matrimony. Clarice attended the event and shared her wedding photographs for a display.
The day ended with refreshments provided by Will Reddish, caterer; Robin Reddish, church secretary; and Joni Kaletka, parishioner. Dessert was a special cake with a picture of the church on the icing.