St. Michael Catholic Church in Iron River will celebrate the 125th anniversary of its founding Oct. 14 with a Mass and luncheon.
The 10 a.m. Mass on Oct. 14 will be celebrated by Bishop James P. Powers and Fr. Michael Crisp, pastor of St. Michael, assisted by Deacon John Grek.
Some historical documents indicate the parish was started in 1892, but church records state 1893. The church has been called St. Michael the Archangel over the years, but today is referred to as St. Michael and the patron saint is St. Michael the Archangel.
In the early 1890s, Franciscan Fr. Casimir Hueppe, a missionary from Ashland, was asked to travel to Iron River to meet the needs of Catholics in the community. In the beginning, Fr. Hueppe traveled from Ashland twice a month for Sunday Mass. Services were held in the Seymour Hotel in downtown Iron River. The parish thrived and the first church was built in 1893. The current church was built in 1948, with a social hall and rectory added in 1964.
The sanctuary and interior were redecorated in 1973. The church is the home parish for 104 families today and many summer families participate during their stays in the area.
In recent years, St. Michael was the central parish of the Northwoods cluster that included Ino, Moquah, Dauby and Lake Nebagamon.
The parish has three very active organizations: the parish council, The Altar and Rosary Society, and the Knights of Columbus.
The council assists Fr. Crisp with decisions regarding maintaining the church and grounds.
The Altar and Rosary Society, once known as the Christian Mothers Society, has been instrumental in fundraising for the many needs of the parish and community.
Knights of Columbus council 12738 focuses on charitable works for the church, family and community.
St. Michael parishioners have always been ecumenical in their works for the community. The church takes it turn at the local thrift shop, the Fig Leaf, and the food shelf together with other local churches. A Christian attitude has always been prevalent in Iron River; many years ago, the community stepped in to help build the current Catholic church when the older structure was considered unsafe.
There are many current parishioners who have been lifelong members, there are those who don’t have as long a history, but collectively they work steadfastly for the parish’s continued growth and success.