This changed in 1992 when the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) began to offer the Traditional Latin Mass there. Ultimately, the community was formally recognized as a Parish by the Diocese in 2014, remaining under the pastoral care of the FSSP.
Throughout their history at Immaculate Conception Church, the Parish has carefully maintained the now 114-year-old Romanesque Revival building. Much generosity and hard work went to shoring up the infrastructure: a new roof, plexiglass overlays for the priceless stained-glass windows, complete renovation of the basement, and upgrades to the electrical and other systems. It seemed that every time they would turn to restoring and beautifying the interior, something else had to take priority.
But in 2020 that changed. The Parish created a revitalized restoration plan, found a new liturgical arts designer, and presented an updated plan to the Diocese. This time, the focus would be on the interior of the Church, in full praise and glory to God. And at what not a better time, than during a year that challenged people to rely on their faith amidst what was and is unprecedented times. It is during these times of pause and reflection that restoration is made, we uncover the timeless beauty within, and those seeds planted by Our Lady flourish. An apt metaphor embodied by the Immaculate Conception Church.
On the interior, past attempts to maintain the paint had resulted in a mismatch of styles and colors that failed to complement the stained-glass windows. From the mint green on the nave walls to the wilted pink found in the Sanctuary, all efforts to harness the brilliance of the deep jewel tones of the exquisite stained-glass panels were lost. However, further investigations uncovered a welcome find about what the interior once looked like. Peeling back layers of old paint revealed a deep golden ochre color palette and original stencil designs.
During the dark months of 2020 and 2021, the Parish shared the sentiment that this restoration was much more than just applying a fresh coat of paint. Their Pastor calls it “A Restoration of Hope.” In the Sunday bulletin he explained his reasoning: “The Gospel can and should be enshrined in the buildings where we work and pray. Architecture is a sort of wordless form of Revelation that should lift our minds and souls to God and should act as a positive influence on the interior development of our souls. Too often today meaningless and uninspiring forms are used. Too often art and architecture are plain ugly. In renewing Immaculate Conception Church's art and architecture, we will broadcast to the world the good news that the Faith is still alive and well, and that the Tradition of the Church will be carried forward into the future. We will pass to the young ones of our parish a coherent and inspiring vision of what the Faith is: The Truth that will never be erased from the world.”
A small pilot was conducted this past January to restore the St. Joseph side altar and to select the final color scheme and stencil patterns. Now the Parish has resumed raising funds so that Phase 1 of the work can carry on without further delay. Phase 1 addresses the beautification of the most sacred part of the church’s interior: the Sanctuary, where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered each day.