“Great country! Church to be built there as soon as possible!” were the words of Bishop O’Reilly after visiting Jordan Valley for the first time in 1914. Bishop O’Reilly was inspired by the faithful Catholics of the rural community of Jordan Valley. Two years after his visit, a church was erected and still stands a hundred years later as a strong anchor of faith for Catholics in Jordan Valley.
On The Feast of the Ascension, May 28, 2017, St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Jordan Valley celebrated its 100 year anniversary and rededication. The church was newly renovated in 2016, by Fr. Bailey Clemens, the pastor at St. Bernard. Bishop Liam Cary of the Baker Diocese celebrated the Mass and rededication of the church. This was Bishop Cary’s first visit to Jordan Valley since the renovations took place. In his homily, he stated how his eyes were dazzled by the interior beauty of the church, and drew him in an upward direction towards God. He stated that the Feast of the Ascension is a calling upward. It raises our eyes. Similarly, the walls of the Church take our eyes and our minds upward. When we rededicate a Church, we are reminded to rededicate ourselves to that which is above. Also, St. Paul says that the Church is the Body of Christ. Similarly, the church building symbolizes Christ who is “The Way, The Truth, and The Life.’ The floor of the church represents The Way. It is the passage by which we walk. The walls represent stability, The Truth, which guards us on our way through life. The walls hold up the roof which protects us from the elements just as we are sustained by The Life of Christ.
Over 100 people joined in the celebration, with several relatives of the original builders of the church present. The women of St. Bernard served a wonderful banquet and there were games for the children, while the weather was perfect for the celebration. The beautiful remodel and rededication of the church is a testimony that the Catholics of Jordan Valley plan to be there long into the future.
To see pictures of the renovated church and more pictures from the 100 year celebration and rededication please see St. Bernard’s website: stbernardsjordanvalley.com
Written by: Liz Cunningham