Holy Innocents Church is one of three churches in the Snoqualmie Valley Parish of Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Snoqualmie, Washington.
In the late 1880’s the Snoqualmie Valley was part of the Snohomish Parish whose boundaries extended from Snohomish to the summit of Snoqualmie Pass. About once a month the priest from Snohomish would travel up the Snoqualmie River, stopping at Monroe, Duvall, Tolt (Carnation), and continuing on to the towns of Snoqualmie and Issaquah. The Catholics in Duvall first gathered at the Dougherty home for worship. In 1913, when Monroe became a parish, Duvall and Tolt were included in its boundaries. Father Daniel Kelly began celebrating Mass one Sunday a month in the Cherry Valley schoolhouse before going on to celebrate Mass up the river.
Holy Innocents is Built
By August of 1913 the schoolhouse was no longer adequate, and so began the building of a new church at Stella and Broadway. Through the hard work and dedication of volunteers, Holy Innocents Church opened her doors for Mass on Palm Sunday, April 5, 1914. Mass was celebrated at least once a month. When the priest was absent, parishioners educated their own children and would gather in homes to recite the rosary or socialize.
Holy Innocents was a mission under St. Mary Church in Monroe until 1949 when it became a mission of St. Brendan Parish, during which time it was often served by the priests and seminarians of St. Edward Seminary. The community did fundraising to purchase items needed for the ill-equipped church. The Holy Innocents women raised money with “Silver Teas” and bazaars held in their homes.
Raising the Church and Digging the Basement
In 1961 Holy Innocents’ Pastor at St. Brendan Church asked Bishop Connolly for permission to raise the church building and construct a basement under it. This new facility would allow the church community to have social functions at the church. Bishop Connelly, seemingly reluctant, gave his permission saying in a letter, saying “…if you think it’s not throwing good money after bad.”
During this project the church was jacked up in the air, and parishioners dug underneath with shovels and wheelbarrows. A huge rock was uncovered in the process. The rock was much too big to dig out, so the workers decided the only thing to do was to blow it up with dynamite. In an “ecumenical” spirit, citizens of Duvall brought their old mattresses to cover the rock. Gathering for the big event, everyone watched as the pastor of the Methodist Church detonated the dynamite, saying with a chuckle, “I always wanted to blow up a Catholic Church.” The explosion worked, the church was undamaged, and the basement was finished.
Boundaries Change Again
In 1977 the boundaries of the mission church were redrawn again, and Holy Innocents became part of St. Mary Church in Monroe. From 1979 until 1988 Fr. Richard Stohr was assigned to be pastoral leader while also serving in Archdiocesan prison ministries. That was the first time a priest had ever had a Duvall address, and he became a pastor in the truest sense of the word to everyone in Duvall. It didn’t matter to him if they were Catholic or not. Beginning in the 1980’s, if the town’s “Good Samaritan Fund” was low, the administrator of the fund would direct people to “go up the hill to the little white church. Someone will help you there.”
The people of Holy Innocents responded to Fr. Stohr’s ministry in like kind, helping him with his projects and becoming even more involved with their community. To this day, parishioners support projects Fr. Stohr started at Matthew House in Monroe and Lazarus Day Center in Seattle.
Building the New Hall
By 1989 the need for a larger social hall and additional classrooms became pressing. When all the costs were established, it appeared that the community could not afford the kind of building they needed so desperately. It was with much concern from the Chancery that permission was granted anyway. Once again, the people of Duvall pulled together to get the building completed. Not only was the building completed as parishioners had promised, but the Archdiocesan loan was paid off ahead of schedule!
A Variety of Celebrants
After Fr. Stohr’s retirement in 1989, he continued to help out at Holy Innocents along with a number of Jesuits and other priests who celebrated Mass each week and provided sacraments. Fathers Louis Gaffney, SJ, Phillip Lucid, SJ, and Ted Zembal are remembered most fondly for their presence and service to Holy Innocents during this time.
Boundaries Change Once More
In July of 1991 Holy Innocents became part of the parish in Snoqualmie, Our Lady of Sorrows, which also included the mission of St. Anthony in Carnation. In July of 1992 Fr. Jan Larson was appointed Pastor for the three churches in the Snoqualmie Valley. In the fall of 1992 Fr. George Thomas, Episcopal Vicar for the Archdiocese, was appointed Priest Minister. Holy Innocents once more had a regular celebrant. After Archbishop Murphy became ill in 1997, Fr. Thomas could no longer help at Holy Innocents.
Fr. Steve Szeman came to Duvall for a year until Fr. Ross Fewing was appointed as Priest Minister in July of 1998. In July of 2001, Fr. Bill Heric was appointed Parochial Vicar.
In 2004, Holy Innocents was made a parish with Father David Rogerson as its pastor. Fr. Rogerson was also appointed pastor of St. Jude Church in Redmond. Fr. Bill Heric continued as Parochial Vicar.
Plans for the New Church
Under Father Stohr’s guidance in the 1980’s the Archdiocese had acquired the Dougherty Property on the north of the City of Duvall as a future building site. In 1999 the Archdiocese gave permission for Holy Innocents to begin the process of preparing for a new church in Duvall. With a very successful fundraising, the Holy Innocents community pledged $1.4 million. The City of Duvall has had a building moratorium because of sewer capacity, so the beginning of construction has been delayed.
After many years of planning and fundraising, we had our ground breaking ceremony the end of May 2004. Our historic church on Stella Street was sold in August 2004 to Adventure Community Church. We moved to our temporary office in the Duvall Plaza building (15705 Main Street NE #B-1) and began celebrating Mass at Cherry Valley Elementary School across from our new church site.
In September of 2005, we celebrated our first Mass in our new church on Cherry Valley Road. When we moved in, the lower level was unfinished, landscaping needed to be done, the doors and windows on the narthex were not yet installed, but we were finally in our new worship space. Archbishop Brunett dedicated our new church on January 14, 2006. Holy Innocents won local and international masonry building awards (2007) as best building of the year.
With many hours of volunteer work, donations, and fundraising, the completion of the facilities continued over several years. First the lower level walls and sheetrock were done. The pantry, office space, classrooms were built. The bathrooms in the basement were installed and finished. The elevator was installed as a result of a special memorial gift. The kitchen was finished off and the ceiling installed. Moveable walls were installed allowing for flexible use of the space.
Doors and windows were installed in 2008 completing the narthex area. In the worship space, parishioners donated funds for the Stations of the Cross, the large crucifix hanging above the altar, and stained glass windows in the clerestory.
Landscaping was lovingly cared for by volunteer gardeners and the lawns maintained by volunteer “Holy Mowers”. A special meditation garden was designed and donated by Wendy Walsh in the shape of the Celtic Trinity. It is a beautiful space for healing and connection with the God of creation.
In 2014 we had 3 Eagle Scout projects that enhanced our grounds: a gazebo (Benjamin Beavers), the Mary Garden (donated by Betty Witte), and the garden around the entrance cross (Adam Hallerman). We also developed raised garden beds to grow food for our pantry outreach program.
Holy Innocents is truly a “Parishioner Participation Project” and continues to grow and improve with the generous gifts of time, talent and treasure.
In July of 2013, Fr. James Johnson was appointed pastor of Holy Innocents and St. Jude Church in Redmond. Gail Dimock, Pastoral Associate, Debby Weidner, Pastoral Assistant for Stewardship, Jennie Caldwell, Pastoral Assistant for Faith Formation, and Jane Pattinson, Bookkeeper assist Fr. Johnson in providing leadership for the parish.