The Second Church
The first Church
Immaculate Conception Parish was first established on October 8, 1859 by Father Charles Pandosy OMI, and Father Pierre Richard OMI. The missionary priests first set up camp just south of Duck Lake. The following spring the missionary camp was relocated some miles south and in the fall it again was moved to its final location at Mission Creek, here a little church, schoolhouse, and a mission house where built. The first permanent log church was built about December, 1860, and a second of lumber, around 1882. The mission would stay open intuit 1902. Joseph Christian sent to France for the new bell for the new church, and the statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph were donated by the Lequime family.
Some time before the closing of the mission the population of the areas greatly increased and we had moved mostly towards the newly incorporated City of Kelowna. A three acre site was purchased on Sutherland Ave. and plans where formulated for the building of a new church and a temporary parish house. The Parish Priest at the time was Father Verbeke decided to what would seem at the time as a rather large church. This third church of the Immaculate Conception would be opened on March 3, 1912, with a Solemn High Mass celebrated by Father Verbeke, assisted by Father Choinel OMI, of Greenwood, as Deacon, and Father Garon of Vernon as Subdeacon. Over the years to follow the parish community had grown and the church that had looked so big had become crowded so that it became necessary to say two Masses on Sundays to accommodate the people. In November of 1929 the Archbishop subdivided the parish, making a new country parish under the name of Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus in Rutland BC. For months Father Verbeke served the two parishes until 1930 when the parish was given a priest of its own.
The Third Church
The altar of the Third Church
The Interior of the Third Church
In July of 1930 Father A.L McIntyre D.P. became Pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish. Father A.L McIntyre D.P. was replaced in October, 1931 by Father W.B. Mckenzie. One of the first undertakings go the new pastor was to add an extra 30 feet onto the church. He increased the size of the sacristy and added central heating and a new lighting system. In 1935 Father W.B. Mckenzie travelled east to make arrangements for the possibility of acquiring sisters for the parish to teach in the school. 1935 also saw the Parish become part of the newly created Diocese of Nelson. Bishop M. Johnson became the first Bishop of the Diocese.
In 1938 the parish saw the completion of Saint Josephs Hall, a long needed facility for the parish community. 1938 also saw the arrival of the Sisters of Charity Halifax where they would eventually open up their first kindergarten on May 1, 1939. the 1940s and 50’s saw great growth in the parish community with the addition of a full parish school being operated by the Sisters of Charity Halifax. By 1959 the parish had grown so large in number that it was divided again with the creation of the new Saint Pius X Parish on Gordon and Fuller Ave.
The Fourth Church
Bishop Doyle lays the cornerstone of the Fourth church
In 1961 Bishop Doyle called for the construction of a new church on Sutherland Ave. The new church was to be 73 feet by 140 feet with a seating capacity of 750 people making it the largest church in the diocese. On December 23, 1962 Bishop Doyle blessed the newly built Immaculate Conception Church. The New Church would feature jewelled windows from France and Marble altars from Italy. The Church also saw sone of the old with the statues, bell, and stations of the cross coming over form the old Church. The 60’s would see a big change in the church with the calling of the Second Vatican Council. The Mass would be changed to facing the people and said in the Vernacular and the lay faithful would become more actively involved.
Over the years following the Parish continued to grow and flourish. The Parish would again be divided with the creation of Saint Charles Garnier Parish next to the old Father Pandosy Mission. Over the Years the church due to its size would see many Ordinations and diocesan events.
In 2019 the church would again see change. The sanctuary of the church would see the carpet removed and the addition of a new High Altar. The old statues would be freshened up and the church repainted. New statues and Images of our Lady and the Saints where added throughout the building and we would see the parish community given new life. In July of 2019 Bishop Gregory Bittman would approve the return of the Latin Mass to the Parish Community for the first time since the Second Vatican Council and both forms of the Mass would be celebrated in the Mother Church of Kelowna.