Parish History

Immaculate Conception Parish

Start of the Parish

  • The town of Gilbertville got its modest beginnings in 1854.
  • The town was plotted by a group of young Catholic men called “The Company.”
  • In August 1855, Bishop Loras celebrated Mass for the people.
  • In 1856, Bishop Loras purchased 20 lots, which is the current parish property.

 

 The Church Building Throughout the Years

  • First wooden church was quite crude and was built in 1855.
  • Second church was built in 1857 and was made of stone. This church was dedicated to Mary under title of Immaculate Conception.
  • The third church was a larger church which was built in 1873.
  • The fourth and final church was built in 1889.

 

History of the Current Church Building

  • On December 19, 1875, Rev. John Nemmers was ordained into the priesthood and on the same day was appointed pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Gilbertville.
  • Rev. Nemmers directed the stone masons for the current church.  The firing of the brick was made from clay on the site - as was the preparation of lime for the mortar and plaster.
  • In 2004, Immaculate Conception Church underwent a complete restoration, restoring the church to its glory and splendor.

 

Parish Priests

  • Rev. John Nemmers, 1875-1928.  Rev. Nemmers was instrumental in building the beautiful church that still stands today. 
  • Father William Cremer, 1928-1965. Father Cremer was instrumental in the construction of the beautiful Sacred Heart Grotto in 1935, which is just to the west of the church.
  • Both Rev. Nemmers and Father Cremer are buried side-by-side in Immaculate Conception’s cemetery – St. Mary’s Cemetery.
  • Father Huber is currently the pastor of Immaculate Conception parish in Gilbertville, St. Joseph parish in Raymond, and the Don Bosco Catholic school system.

 

Other Buildings

  • From 1891 to 1901, a brick convent, school, and rectory were built.
  • In 1919, St. Mary’s Hall was built.
  • In 1956, Don Bosco High School opened. It was supported by six parishes.
  • In the fall of 1961, construction of the new grade school began.
  • In 1969, Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph schools merged.
  • From 2010-2011, a $3.3 million project for the new St. Mary’s Center (and some updating for Don Bosco) was being worked on. This s a multi-purpose building, consisting of a cafeteria and gymnasium, which opened in 2011.

 

Immaculate Conception Parish

  • There are currently 735 families.
  • There are 1,950 parishioners.
  • The yearly festival is the Fall Fest, held each year in October.

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St. Joseph Parish

Start of the Parish

  • In 1905 the community decided to form and build their own church.
  • Previously, parishioners attended Immaculate Conception in Gilbertville. 
  • Volunteers donated labor and constructed the hilltop church just north of the railroad tracks.
  • On July 4, 1906, Rev. John Nemmers celebrated the Mass of dedication. 

 

The Church Building Throughout the Years

  • The church was built from 1905 to July in 1906.
  • Lightning struck the original church during the first Friday evening Mass, burning it to the ground on May 5, 1972.
  • The assembly room of the school now serves as the worship center, which holds 250 persons. 
  • Later an overflow/cry room and handicapped chair lift were added. 

 

Parish Priests

  • Rev. H. J. Rottler served as the first pastor from 1906-1913. 
  • Rev. Paul Grace served the parish from 1966-1972. 

 

Other History

  • Cemetery land was purchased next to the church. 
  • The rectory was built in 1907 for $2,700. 
  • The parish hall and addition opened in 1916. 
  • The parish hall burned in 1933, and a new hall was constructed on the same site. 
  • In 1950, the original school was built for $20,000, along with a $10,000 convent. 
  • In 1964, a new brick school was built for $125,000. 
  • The rectory was demolished in 2004. 

 

St. Joseph Parish

  •  Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph schools merged in 1972. 
  • A Kindergarten program was also added to St. Joseph Center. 
  • There are currently 181 households
  • There are approximately 433 parishioners.
  • In 2004, the parish became linked with Immaculate Conception, served jointly by one priest who resides at Gilbertville's parish. 

 

 


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Rev. Henry Huber, Pastor
Immaculate Conception Church
- 311 15th Avenue - P.O. Box 136 - Gilbertville, Iowa 50634-0136
St. Joseph Church - 313 East Central Street - Raymond, Iowa 50667    
Mailing Address for St. Joseph is PO Box 136 - Gilbertville, IA  50634-0136
 
Phone: (319) 296-1092
          Fax: (319) 296-2087
 

 
 

Last Reviewed:  December 29, 2015