September 13, 1999
DUVALL--On a hillside overlooking the Snoqualmie Valley, Holy Innocents Catholic Church members gathered last Sunday to remember the past and plan for the future--a future that will bring the church full circle.
A new building is in the works to accommodate the growing church population on a site just a few steps away from the Dougherty house, where Duvall Catholics first worshipped in the late 1800s.
During those days, the priest from Snohomish would travel up the Snoqualmie River, stopping at Monroe, Duvall, and Tolt (Carnation), and then on to Snoqualmie and Issaquah. Later, the Cherry Valley schoolhouse was used for the Duvall services.
In 1913, construction began on the current Holy Innocents Catholic Church at Stella and Broadway. The picturesque building was completed in 1914 and has served the community well for 85 years.
But it is running out of room. The church, which seats 150 in the pews, regularly has 200 or more attending a normal weekend Mass. People are accommodated with folding chairs wherever they will fit. The once single Sunday Mass has been expanded to three.
Church officials have decided the future for the church lies in the property across the street from Cherry Valley Elementary. It has been owned by the Catholic Archdiocese since Leo Dougherty, the last member of the Dougherty family to live in the house, died over 20 years ago.
In a tent on the property on Sunday, parishioners gathered to mark the 85th anniversary of the church and to celebrate the vision for the new one.
Church officials propose to initially build a space that will allow the church to continue to grow and serve the Catholic community, beginning with a core of a building that would allow for expansion.
Given fund-raising goals, church officials say they can expect to build a space to seat approximately 300 people. There are no plans yet on when construction will begin.
Although historically a mission church, Holy Innocents had one resident pastor from 1979 until 1988 when Fr. Richard Stohr was pastoral leader. During his tenure, Holy Innocents became recognized as a working Christian entity in the community. Projects that Fr. Stohr started--Matthew House in Monroe and Lazarus Day Center in Seattle--continue to this day.
Fr. Jan Larson was appointed pastor in July of 1992 after Holy Innocents became part of the parish in Snoqualmie.
The church has a long tradition of service to others in need. It is aligned with the St. Vincent de Paul Society, operates a food pantry, a clothing cupboard, and supports a home for single mothers, along with Matthew House and Lazarus Day Center. Among other activities, parishioners also take part in the Lunch Bunch program, which operates out of the Multi-Service Center in Carnation.