Celebrating 125 years

  • Written by Armando Machado
  • Published in Local
The Church of the Assumption in Bellingham celebrated the feast of the Assumption Aug. 15 as well as the parish’s 125th anniversary. Photo: Jim Wright The Church of the Assumption in Bellingham celebrated the feast of the Assumption Aug. 15 as well as the parish’s 125th anniversary. Photo: Jim Wright

BELLINGHAM - On the feast of the Assumption, Bellingham’s Church of the Assumption marked 125 years as a parish with a multicultural Mass and dinner.

“It’s great to celebrate our anniversary and the feast of the Assumption,” said parishioner Kathy St.Hilaire, who assisted at the after-Mass celebration. “It’s our extended family here in town — we enjoy the community and the good people that are here.”

Established as a parish in 1889, Assumption’s first church was built on Elk Street (now State Street). Missionary Father Jean Baptiste Boulet was named the first pastor; his deep devotion to the Holy Family may have played a part in selecting the parish’s name, according to Joe St.Hilaire, the parish’s resident historian.

The first Mass at the church, the second-oldest in Whatcom County, was celebrated on the feast of the Assumption in 1889. The current church was built on Cornwall Avenue and dedicated Oct. 12, 1921. The parish school, built on the Cornwall Avenue property in 1913, celebrated its centennial last year.

At the Aug. 15 Mass, Assumption pastor Father K. Scott Connolly noted the dual purpose of this year’s celebration: to honor Mary’s assumption into heaven and to acknowledge all those over the years — pastors, staff and parishioners — “who have helped to shape who we are as a community.”

 food feast
A feast followed the 125th anniversary Mass at the Church of the Assumption Aug. 15. Photo: Jim Wright

Frank Estrada, a lead coordinator for the parish’s Hispanic ministry, said he enjoyed the event’s multicultural nature. The Mass was celebrated mostly in English and Spanish, but it also included Vietnamese. “It was a gorgeous Mass; the church was full,” Estrada said.

“This is awe-inspiring — the camaraderie is special,” said Tashie Zang, a longtime parishioner and volunteer who is of Spanish, Japanese and Chinese ancestry. “We have community; we have the church. This is my second home.”

Aug. 19, 2014