PUYALLUP – Nearly 600 Catholics gathered Dec. 6 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the first Mass in the Puyallup River Valley.
It was on that date in 1890 that Nora Kough, a resident of the newly incorporated city of Puyallup, rode her buggy to St. Leo Church in Tacoma to pick up Father John Rohlinger, who had been invited to celebrate Mass in a private home in Puyallup. The Mass was attended by just five women; but out of this humble beginning, the Catholic community of All Saints Parish was born.
The Dec. 6 anniversary celebration began with a pilgrimage. Father Michael Radermacher, pastor of All Saints, Jesuit Father Steve Lantry of St. Leo’s, and youth from each of their parishes started at All Saints and walked through Pioneer Park before stopping by the Puyallup River for prayer.
The pilgrims next stopped at New Hope Resource Center, a ministry built by All Saints parishioners in collaboration with other local Christian churches. There they reflected on the continuing mission of the church to bring the good news of Christ to those who are in spiritual and material need.
The pilgrims then joined fellow parishioners at Kalles Junior High School for an anniversary Mass. Also joining them were other local Catholics and Benedictine Sister Maureen O’Larey of St. Placid Priory in Lacey, who represented the many Benedictines who served at All Saints Parish and School from 1954 to 1998.
At right, during an anniversary Mass for All Saints Parish in Puyallup on Dec. 6, local Catholic youth hold vessels containing water from the seven churches that sprung from All Saints. Photo: Carmen Bryant
Mass began with seven young parishioners each bringing in an antique vessel containing water from the seven churches that sprung from All Saints and into the different parts of the Puyallup Valley: Our Lady of Lourdes Mission, Wilkeson; St. Aloysius, Buckley; St. Andrew, Sumner; Sts. Cosmas and Damian Mission, Orting; Holy Disciples, Puyallup; St. Martin of Tours, Fife; and Our Lady of Good Counsel Mission, Eatonville. These vessels, which were themselves nearly 100 years old, were poured out into an antique baptismal font as a sign of unity.
The altar and ambo at the anniversary Mass were built for the occasion by Father Radermacher to recreate the original altar and ambo at All Saints Church in the early 1900s. The silver vessels used for the liturgy were also from that time period. Father Radermacher wore a Roman “fiddleback” chasuble in a style that was commonly used from the 16th century to the 19th century, and Father Lantry wore the Jesuit cassock, surplice, and biretta, which all the diocesan and Jesuit priests wore 125 years ago.
After the Mass, attendees gathered for a special reception in the All Saints School commons, which featured a historical display outlining the parish’s 125 years of Catholic community. A team of four volunteers spent several months researching the display using the Meeker Mansion archives, government and parish records, and interviews with past parish priests and their families.
Massgoers pose for a photo at the Dec. 6 Mass celebrating the 125th anniversary of the first Mass in the Puyallup River Valley. The Mass was held at Kalles Junior High School. Photo: Carmen Bryant
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