Immaculate Conception’s 175th-anniversary celebration honors history, community

By Neal A. Johnson, UD Editor
Posted 10/14/21

Blue skies and cooler weather provided a perfect setting for Immaculate Conception’s 175th-anniversary celebration on Saturday, and committee members are pleased with the turnout.

“It …

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Immaculate Conception’s 175th-anniversary celebration honors history, community

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Blue skies and cooler weather provided a perfect setting for Immaculate Conception’s 175th-anniversary celebration on Saturday, and committee members are pleased with the turnout.

“It was amazing to see all generations come together and celebrate the history of our parish throughout the day,” said committee member Caleb Bax. “We are all one big family. I cannot thank each and every committee member and all the volunteers enough that made this day a huge success.”

Committee member Barbara Backes agreed. “Our parish truly experienced a day of celebration on Saturday,” she said. “What was especially touching to me was seeing the oldest member of our parish at 104 (Hildegarde Haslag) and the longest-married couple of 74 years (Hubert and Pauline Bescheinen) as grand marshals of the parade.”

Fr. Tony Rinaldo, pastor at Immaculate Conception, said he too, was impressed by the turnout and sense of community. “What an awesome place to live,” he added. “It will be difficult to thank everyone who participated and made it possible. Not just our church folks but others as well: the ambulance, firefighters, and sheriff’s deputies also played a part.”

Fr. Rinaldo added that this as a priest is a milestone, and he looks forward to many more. “As I said at the end of Mass, 175 years is just the beginning for the Catholic faithful of Loose Creek!” he said.

The parade featured members of Linn VFW 4756, a variety of floats, classic cars, and tractors.

IC-LC students provided poignant examples of the faith they share. “The statue of the Blessed Mother being carried in the parade by the eighth-grade class and surrounded by the First Communion class dropping flower petals, and the paper boys touched my heart,” said Backes. “The balloon rosary was amazing and symbolic of our parish and faith.”

She added that the day’s events represented the past, the present, and the future. “The cemetery tour, visits from the past, the demonstration, the Indian teepee, museum, and Dr. Gary Kremer’s presentation reminded me of the rich history of our parish,” said Backes. “The reflection of the simple yet difficult life of our ancestors, the daily struggles they endured without the modern conveniences of today and knowing it was their the faith, love, and hope that got them through those difficult times and helped them celebrate the good times gave me reassurance that God and our faith will carry us through not only the difficult times but help us in celebrating the blessings of our lives.”

The fellowship, the music, the delicious food, seeing adults come together to share stories, to visit, to catch up on their lives, and to share their dreams for the future was refreshing, Backes added. “Seeing the kids have hours of fun for free, the smiles on their faces, and the excitement they radiated was so rewarding to me and gave me hope for future generations,” she said.

Caroline Brandt Winkelmann Pearon portrayed her great-great-grandmother Elizabeth (Patten) Bornhoft -Peil -Schlangenstein, and Doris Backes Delp provided a history of Wilhemina Rehagen Sonnen Muechling Daube on behalf of Linda Boessen Kress. A sudden death in the family in Illinois prevented her attendance.

The 175th Colonial Games include “Milk the Cow,” “Flip the Can,” “Ring the Cowbell,” “Flip the Flap Jack,” “The Farmer Lost His Eggs,” “Buckets and Biscuits,” beanbag and rope-ring tosses, panning for gold, a fish pond (with cane poles), a cakewalk, and cornhole games.

The church was absolutely beautiful, the choir was amazing, and Mass well planned, Backes noted.

Bishop W. Shawn McKnight in his homily said the celebration was not simply the blessing of a physical structure but a renewal of dedication to God through belief in the teachings of the Catholic Church through charitable works, and a sacramental life.

“These three things — adhering to what Jesus taught us to believe, practicing our faith in charitable action, and faithfully observing how Jesus taught us to pray, as passed on to us through sacred tradition with the guarantee of the Apostolic Succession of Bishops — this is what being a Christian Church means.”

Bishop McKnight added that while the people are the true Church of God, the physical structure is a necessary means of evangelization. “In a very real sense, this church building speaks loudly of your faith, especially its beauty, and as a place of quiet prayer and devotion,” said McKnight.

Immaculate Conception - Loose Creek was founded by Fr. Ferdinand Helias in 1835. The present church building was completed in 1877. A monument to the original parishioners, dedicated in 1992, shows the names and towns from which the first congregants originated.

A history of the parish as presented by Dr. Kremer is presented separately in this week’s paper.

Having the oldest married couple and the youngest member of the parish in offertory was special. “I couldn’t help but think about what Hubert and Pauline experienced in their life and what Jade Ann has yet to experience,” said Backes. “The atmosphere of the day — it was like there was something very special in the air — that I couldn’t quite put my finger on until this morning when I realized it was God who was there with us just like he is every day of our lives whether we realize it or not.”

A face-painting station, clowns, a bin of corn, marbles, jacks, checkers, tic-tac-toe, washboard and tub, pie-throwing, kettle corn, homemade soap, quilting demonstrations, and an Osage Indians teepee provided plenty of activities.

“There was something for everyone,” said Bax.

Various contests were also held, including a sack race, tug-of-war, three-legged race, egg-on-a-spoon race, roll-a-hoop race, a stick pull, the limbo, and a hula-hoop contest.

A replica of a one-room school provided a photo opportunity that many took advantage of, and a replica of a country store as presented by The Hatchery were part of demonstrations at the rectory.

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