Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

The Next Fifty Years

Early in 1950, with the consent of Archbishop Howard, a board was formed for the purpose of building a new church. Its members included: Father Mathias Jonas, Dr. W.A. Burrell, George Frichtl, John Etzel, T.G. Freres, Louis Freres, Chris Neitling, Ernest Dozler, A.J. Frank, and Gus Kirsch. A Salem Architect, Louis A. Schmerber A.I.A, drew the plans. After many detail reviews, the contract was let and awarded to A.N. Minden Construction Company. Work began on March 26, 1951 (the day after Easter), and was completed on April 12, 1952 (the day before Easter) at a cost of $250,000. 
On June 22, 1952, the dedication of the new church was held. His Excellency, the Most Rev. Francis P. Leipzig, D.D., Bishop of Baker, Oregon, preached the festive sermon on this special occasion. It was most fitting and proper that Bishop Leipzig was asked to be the main speaker for this occasion as he had been instrumental in responding to the rapid growth of the Church in this Archdiocese during the past thirty years.
The first service in the new church was Easter Mass on April 13, 1952. The first baby baptized in the new church was Laura Mae Mack, daughter of Charles and Kathleen Mack on April 14, 1952. The first marriage was La Veta Dozler, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Dozler, to Arthur Christiansen on May 24, 1952. The first funeral Mass held in the new church was for Edwin Forrette.
During this time the Grotto (north of the new church) was built. Fred Kremwinkle, a long time friend of Father Jonas, donated the statue of the Virgin Mary to be placed in the Grotto. Mr. and Mrs. Ted Freres donated the money to build the Grotto, which was constructed by Nestor Van Handle. Over the many years, the Freres families have maintained and decorated the Grotto at Christmas time. In 1955 two organs were purchased for $2,999.

Rev Lawrence Saalfeld

Rev. Lawrence Saalfeld came to the parish in 1960. His love of Catholic education helped spur the expansion of St. Mary School and the founding of Regis High School. Also at that time the Rev. Vincent Cunniff was in residence. He is remembered for using his engineering experience to survey the land where Regis would be built.
In 1962, Stations of the Cross were purchased for $2,357. And in 1965 the first electronic bell system, with the equivalent of 25 tons of bells, was purchased as a memorial to Chris Silbernagel at a cost of $3,000.
Rev. John Goodrich came to the parish in 1968.. Following him in 1972 was Rev. Donald McHugh,  an Army chaplain, who was known to apply his military experience to maintaining discipline. Arriving in Stayton in 1979 was Rev. Alfred Williams.During his tenure, he introduced men as Eucharistic ministers and women as lectors. He also focused his attention on social justice and helping those in need. Rev. Joseph Neuville, who came to the parish in 1983, introduced women as Eucharistic ministers and believed in volunteerism. His motto was "Everyone needs to volunteer at some point."


Father Donald McHugh

Father Joseph Neuville

Father Robert Beltrami

Rev. Msgr. Gregory Moys

Rev. Robert Beltrami, OFM, followed in 1986 and was the first and only member of a religious order to be the parish's pastor. He often visited parishioners in their homes. During 1987, a section of the center of the communion rail was removed and communicants for the first time received communion standing. New carpeting was placed in the church at the same time.
Rev. Beltrami was followed in 1990 by Rev. (now Rev. Msgr.) Gregory Moys, who first came to Regis as a teacher and counselor. Known for his ready smile and a camera in hand,  he helped introduce small church communities to the parish. The church grounds were landscaped in 1992. During 1993, the church was remodeled, adding the new reconciliation room, cry room and bathroom. Mike Adams Construction Co. did construction at cost of $11,740. In 1994, the rectory had a new roof put on by Lindemann Roofing Co. at a cost of $14,249. During 1995 Mike Adams Construction Co. put a new roof onto the church at a cost of $43,100. During Father Moys tenure, the church offices were moved out of the Rectory and into the Convent. The last two nuns, Sister Mary Ellen Therese and Sister Christine had retired to their Mother Houses. 
In 1997, Rev. Richard Wallace came to Immaculate Conception and was known among parishioners as a great preacher and a dynamic and creative leader. In addition to serving as a teacher and counselor at Regis, he organized parish "listening sessions" during the years 1997 and 1998.  A new bell system was purchased for the church at a cost of $8,425 and, in 1998, a new pipe organ was installed. New years eve of 1999 came and went without any Y2K mishaps and the church went on. See The Church Today...