Today there are over 600 families attending Immaculate Conception Church and nearly 200 students are enrolled in Immaculate Conception Academy.
Immaculate Conception Church is a traditional Catholic community served by priests of the Society of St. Pius X. Located in Post Falls, Idaho, within short driving distance from Spokane, Washington, it offers the Latin Mass as well as a Catholic education to residents of both Idaho and Washington state. Catholic tradition has a richly connected history in the area, beginning with Jesuit missionary labor in the 1840s and continuing to this day with Catholics working towards the same goals.
The leading priest to preserve Catholic Tradition during the 1960s was Fr. Edward DeBusschere. DeBusschere had retired from Alberta, Canada to the Diocese of Spokane in the early 1950s and served as assistant priest at St. John Vianney Church in Spokane Valley. His retirement, however, was short lived. In 1969, changes to the Mass prompted a small group of Catholics to seek out DeBusschere who continued to offer the unaltered traditional Roman Mass at his home. DeBusschere’s basement room was called St. Pius V Chapel, and was quite small. Parking was limited in the neighborhood. Soon the group had to find a larger and more permanent place.
Providentially, the State of Idaho was in the process of building Interstate 90 and St. George’s Catholic Church at Post Falls stood in the way of a new onramp. On September 6, 1972, John O’Neil, representing the lay directors of DeBusschere’s chapel, purchased the church. They then found a suitable nearby property and moved the church to the site where today’s church stands. Fr. DeBusschere dedicated it on December 8, 1972 as Immaculate Conception Church. The community continued to grow. In the fall of 1975, DeBusschere approved the establishment of Immaculate Conception Academy to provide a solid Catholic education for boys and girls. Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre witnessed the fervor of Northwest tradition when he first visited in 1976.
Fr. DeBusschere knew that his efforts would not last without the work of other priests. He was 76 years old when the parish was passed over to the Society of St. Pius the X in 1978. Nevertheless, it was not until 1982 when Archbishop Lefebvre could spare a priest to finally take up residence at Post Falls. Since then the number of SSPX priests living there has grown from one to six. In 1991 parishioners came together to build a larger church for the growing community. Also in 1991, Dominican Sisters founded a school for girls in Post Falls, while Immaculate Conception Academy continued to educate boys.
Today there are over 600 families attending Immaculate Conception Church and nearly 200 students are enrolled in Immaculate Conception Academy. Post Falls is home to one of the earliest traditional Catholic centers in the United States, and today it is one of the largest. The work of the founding members and Fr. DeBusschere lives on preserving the Catholic Faith in the Northwest.