St. Aloysius Parish History
The earliest record of Catholic services in Estacada, Oregon is in 1894. Fr. Anselm Wachter O.S.B. was in charge of the mission churches. He was in residence at Sacred Heart Parish in southeast Portland. For thirteen years he made the rounds of Milwaukie, Kronenberg, Sandy, Troutdale and Estacada. Very often he made this trip on foot. After Fr. Anselm’s death in June of 1903, other Benedictine priests came periodically to Estacada to celebrate Mass and administer the other sacraments. In 1924 the present church was built as a mission of Milwaukie. Fr. John Bernards, pastor of Milwaukie, received $500 from the Catholic Church Extension Society to build the mission church in Estacada. It was blessed by Archbishop Christie on July 13, 1924. Fr. Bernards came once a month on horseback to minister to the parish.
Fr. Martin W. Doherty became the first permanent pastor of St. Aloysius in 1933. A residence was built on to the back of the church building. Fr. Doherty also served the mission churches of St. Michael’s in Sandy and St. John’s in Welches.
Fr. Doherty was succeeded by Fr. John Reedy (1939 – 1940), Fr. James Crowe (1940 – 1944), Fr. William Delplanche (1944 – 1952), Fr. Norbert Fritz came in 1952 and had the pastorate moved to St. Michael’s in Sandy. The reason for this was that St. Aloysius Parish had grown too big for the little church building and needed remodeling. The residence and the church were joined to make a larger church. Fr. Ernest Jackson served the parish from 1958 – 1966, Fr. Joseph Cormier (1966 – 1967), and Fr. Carl Gimpl (1968).
St. Aloysius was again made a parish in 1969 with Fr. Edward Borkowski S.V.D. as pastor. Redland was the mission parish, St. Phillip Benizi. In 1972 St. Aloysius again became a mission and St. Phillip’s the pastorate due largely to the rapid growth in the Redland area. Three Divine Word priests in succession served as assistant pastors to help Fr. Edward Borkowski: Fr. Bower, Fr. Leonard, and Fr. Dennis Flynn. In 1985 Fr. Borkowski was returned to his home of Chicago and Fr. Lawrence Saalfeld served the parish.
In 1985 the parishioners of St. Aloysius petitioned the Archdiocese to again be considered a parish with a permanent pastor. The petition was accepted and Fr. Thomas Jones S.M. was assigned to the parish temporarily. Fr. Jack Wells was assigned as permamnent pastor in July 1986. In 1992 Fr. Wells was reassigned and the parish has not had a permanent pastor since.
St. Aloysius Parish has been served by a succession of very fine priests. They have been with us from one week to one year. We are very grateful for each one of them. Fr. Paul Curtin S.J. of Boston College, Fr. Michael Maslowsky-Director of Lay Formation, Fr. Curtiss Woods of Shreveport, Fr. Thomas Yurchak. The present pastor, Fr. David Clark, is serving us and studying for a Doctorate in Christian Archaeology.
Through these many years of changing leadership the constant strength and vitality of the parishioners is keeping St. Aloysius alive. We have an Administrative Council which takes care of the business and finances of the church. The Marian Guild buys many of the supplies that are needed for the Church and the Hall. We are proud of our education program. The parishioners have built and nearly paid for a lovely new Parish Center with two offices, a fireside meeting room, and six classrooms. A healthy CCD program and Youth Group serve our children. The St. Vincent de Paul Conference helps the people in need in the parish and in the community. We praise God with our parish choirs and our prayer group. We are growing spiritually through the Mass and the other sacraments. If we do not have a priest for daily Mass, we have a Communion Service. A group of lay people take Communion to the sick on each Thursday. All of the work of the parish is done through volunteers. There are approximately 180 families in our parish. Over 100 people are regular volunteers in some capacity.
Since the church was built in 1924, a house was purchased to serve as a rectory; a social hall was built; a parish center was built. We are very proud of St. Aloysius Parish and expect to continue getting better and better. We are very grateful for all of the fine priest that have served our parish through the years.