Mukilteo’s St. John Mission finally gets to celebrate centennial
Aug 26, 2021
MUKILTEO – After more than a year’s delay because of the pandemic, St. John the Evangelist Mission will celebrate its centennial August 29 with a 9 a.m. Mass celebrated by Archbishop Paul D. Etienne, followed by brunch.
St. John, dedicated in April 1920, is the oldest church in downtown Mukilteo, according to Father Hans Olson, pastor of the mission as well as St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Everett. The St. John’s faith community began celebrating its 100th year in January 2020 with a parish breakfast. But other events had to be canceled because of the lockdown.
“Due to COVID, we’re going to do something more simple and have a one-day celebration,” said Jane Mason, a lifelong parishioner who is helping organize the centennial event.
Earlier this summer, volunteers at St. John and St. Mary Magdalen assembled rosaries and mailed them to each St. John’s household, along with an invitation to the centennial celebration.
“The parishioners are close to each other,” said Pat Ostolaza, who has seen a lot of changes in the 51 years she’s been a member of St. John Mission.
Back then, Mukilteo was a city of about 1,000, and some 75 families worshipped at the mission church, she said. Today, Mukilteo’s population has grown to nearly 21,400, and 200 families are parishioners of St. John, Ostolaza said.
“It’s always been a good, healthy community and a good, vibrant community,” Father Olson said.
‘A concern for living the Gospel’
Before the small church was built, Catholics in the area worshipped in a building on Second Street in Mukilteo, served by a priest who was chaplain at Everett’s Providence Hospital, according to a history on the St. Mary Magdalen website.
Over the years, St. John has been a mission of various Everett parishes — Our Lady of Perpetual Help, then Immaculate Conception, and finally St. Mary Magdalen when it was founded in 1957.
St. John’s parishioners a have a sense of community and “a concern for living the Gospel,” Father Olson said.
The mission has had an active women’s guild for years, Ostolaza said. Prior to the pandemic, the group organized the annual St. Patrick’s dinner as well as a fall spaghetti dinner in honor of the Italian families in the community. Volunteers would spend the day before preparing the meal from scratch, using a recipe provided by a parishioner.
A men’s club formed at St. John about 15 years ago. Members organize the annual parish picnic, sponsor Easter egg and pumpkin decorating events, and assist the women’s guild with its events.
Ostolaza and other parishioners have taken Communion to the homebound and helped with funeral and wedding receptions for fellow parishioners.
“There’s a real sense of knowing people,” Father Olson said of the faith community. “There’s a familial aspect to it.”
The mission has one Sunday Mass and offers weekly adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Father Olson said. Before the pandemic, about 175 people attended Sunday Mass; currently 80 to 90 people attend, he said. “We’re hoping to see happens after COVID,” he added.
Just as the community has seen changes over the years, so has the original mission church.
In the 1980s, its purple stained-glass windows were replaced with etched glass panes, each based on a different theme, Mason said. And after Father Olson became pastor, he designed and built the altar, pulpit and base for the tabernacle.
Father Olson also designed the mission’s centennial banners, one featuring a symbol for Mary and the other displaying a cross with the Greek letters ICXCNIKA, an abbreviation for “Jesus Christ Conquers,” Mason explained.
The banners, made by parishioner Patti Cox, were unveiled for the January 2020 parish breakfast and were displayed behind the altar for Easter Mass. They will also be on display for the centennial Mass with Archbishop Etienne.