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75 years and counting

Updated: Oct 10, 2022

Our Lady of the Rosary serves families in east Boise

The following story appeared in the October 7 Idaho Catholic Register.

The original Our Lady of the Rosary Parish was on the corner of Longmont Avenue and Howe Street in Boise. The church, dedicated in late 1947, was not big enough to accommodate the expanding parish, necessitating a move further east to allow for a bigger building. The former church is still in use as a nondenominational Christian church. (ICR file photo)

By Gene Fadness


and Mary Jo Dickson

BOISE, Oct. 7, Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary – Parishioners and friends of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish began the observance of the 75th anniversary of their founding by honoring their namesake, praying the Rosary before a statue of the Blessed Virgin that was moved out to the front courtyard of the church for the special occasion.

“We as a community have seen the power of gathering together and praying the rosary,” said parishioner Mary Jo Dickson, who compiled an extensive history of the east Boise parish in advance of the anniversary celebration.

“We offer many opportunities to pray together. For years, before every weekend Mass we have gathered to pray the rosary. Throughout the pandemic of 2020, we gathered via Zoom to pray together to remain connected as a community of prayer,” Dickson wrote.

After the Rosary, families, many representing generations of faithful parishioners, processed to place flowers in front of a statue of the Blessed Virgin before Mass began. Walter Donavan, who along with his wife, Rita, has been a longtime stalwart at the parish and a former Grand Knight for the Knights of Columbus, was given the honor of crowning the statue.

Bishop Peter Christensen concelebrated the anniversary Mass along with Father Dat Vu, current pastor at the parish, and Father Bruno Segatta, a former pastor. Deacons from the parish assisted included Deacon Lou Aaron, parish administrator, Deacon Mike Servatius and Deacon Peter Cuppage.

After the Mass, parishioners and friends gathered for a reception. Included were displays of the parish’s history from articles, pictures and past parish directories. All of the families were given a booklet containing high-lights of the parish’s 75 years.

“As a friend of ours said ‘OLR is family,’ ” said parishioner Allan Bosch. When he and his wife, Pixie, were looking for a parish, “OLR was very welcoming to our whole family.”

“The music was also a big draw for Pixie because of her singing background,” he said. “We spent many years participating in the choir. We have also enjoyed many adult educational opportunities to increase our knowledge of the faith.”

Parishioner Mike Schauble also likes the fact that the parish intentionally has fewer Masses to create a great sense of community. “It also has great music and a staff that is passionate about the faith,” he said. “And we have an incredible new reliquary.”

These are some of the highlights of the history of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish:

  • Back in the 1930s, Bishop Edward Kelly recognized the need for another church in the Boise area. His dream finally started to take shape after the war when the diocese purchased land on the corner of Longmont and Howe in 1945. Material shortages delayed construction, so the congregation remained a Chapel under the supervision of St. John’s Cathedral. The church on 1524 Longmont Avenue was dedicated on Dec. 14, 1947. Our Lady of the Rosary didn’t become an official stand-alone parish until its first Sunday Mass on June 9, 1948.

  • The founding pastor was Father Raymond Peplinksi. He found 174 Catholic families within the parish boundary. He served from 1947 until 1962.

  • In 1952, the parish split in two. Some 282 families people left to become Sacred Heart Parish, while 160 families remained as part of Our Lady of the Rosary.

  • By 1993, Boise was starting to boom. Bishop Tod Brown encouraged the congregation on Longmont to move to give it space to grow. The parish bought five acres of a dairy farm on the Corner of Law and Wright Streets from parishioners John and Joan Prickett.

  • On April 15, 1994, the parish broke ground for a new parish center, which featured meeting rooms, office space, a giant kitchen and a large multi-purpose hall that would be used as temporary worship space until the church would be completed. Parishioners broke ground for the new church on June 16, 1997. The new church opened in time for 1998 Holy Week services.

  • The new church houses important parts of the old church building including stained glass windows of saints, the gold and silver crucifix from the main altar and the original tabernacle. The front piece from the post Vatican II altar in the old church depicting the rosary now hangs in the library. The statues of the crowned Mary, St. Theresa, and the Risen Christ are all from the old church on Longmont.

Our Lady of the Rosary Parish was a co-host of the Boise Rosary Crusade led by the famed “Rosary priest,’’ Venerable Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C. About 5,000 attended the 1956 event at Bronco Stadium. (Courtesy photo/Mary Jo Dickson)

  • Our Lady of the Rosary was a co-host of the Boise Rosary Crusade attended by about 5,000 at Bronco Stadium on Sept. 23, 1956. The rally was one of 540 rallies worldwide led by Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., who devoted his life to the spread of family prayer. The humble apostle of the Rosary, in his cause for sainthood, was declared venerable by Pope Francis in 2017. The Father Peyton Center and Museum of Family Prayer near Boston sent hundreds of rosaries to Our Lady of the Rosary in honor of the parish’s 75th anniversary.

  • Thanks to the relentless searching of an OLR parishioner, the parish was able to acquire a hand-carved near life-sized wooden Crucifix believed to be about 150 years old from St. Michael’s School in Pittsburgh. The parish bought and crucifix and had it transported Boise. The Liturgical Environment Committee had the art placed just in time for Easter of 2019.

  • The parish has become well-known for its famous reliquary. The Reliquary design phase began in January 2019 and was dedicated on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15, 202. The first relic arrived from Poland on Nov. 5, 2018. Relics include those from Blessed Vasyl Velychkovsky, St. Bernadette Soubirous, St. Louis de Montfort, St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, St. Faustina Maria Kowalska, St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, St. Francis de Sales, St. Jane Frances de Chantel and St. Rita of Cascia.

  • Our Lady of the Rosary Parish serves the community at St. Joseph’s Chapel in Idaho City. With financial help from the Diocese of Boise, the Catholic Extension Society, and Our Lady of the Rosary, the interior of the chapel was restored in August 2007 to look as it did more than 100 years ago.

  • The parish offers a Mass every other week for the Ki Swahili community of faithful Catholics from throughout the Treasure Valley. Yearly events include a Divine Mercy Sunday Service, a talent show fearing the parish deacons and an outdoor Mass and picnic at Municipal Park. Its Marthas and Marys Ministry provides help, especially to families experiencing the loss of a loved one.

  • The parish officers a unique children’s faith formation program called “Montessori Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Program,” we continue to help our little ones grow in a deeper relationship with Christ.

  • A St. Vincent de Paul’s ministry helps those in need. Visitors are sent to visit the homebound and bring them the Eucharist. A few of members knit, quilt or crochet shawls as they pray for the recipients. The prayer shawls are then blessed by clergy and delivered either by our clergy or homebound ministers to the homebound.

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, please consider buying a subscription to the Idaho Catholic Register. Your $20 yearly subscription also supports the work of the Diocese of Boise Communications Department, which includes not only the newspaper, but this website, social media posts and videos. You can subscribe here, or through your parish, or send a check to 1501 S. Federal Way, Boise, ID, 83705: or call 208-350-7554 to leave a credit card payment. Thank you, and God bless you.

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