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Our History

The need for a new parish on Dayton's eastern edge first became evident in the early 1900s as more and more Catholic families settled in the Belmont area. It was Archbishop John T. McNicholas who then asked the Marianist Order to assume the responsibility for this new parish and suggest a name. On May 10, 1938, with the appointment of Fr. John Rauscher S.M. as pastor, the Parish of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception began. Shortly after Fr. John Rauscher's appointment in 1938, the parish bought a former bowling alley at the corner of Smithville and Watervliet. This parish also set out to built a school and completed the first story in 1940. A second floor was added in 1949.

The present Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception was built in 1966.  Total cost for the church including all furnishings and outside landscaping was approximately$1,300,000.  Fr. James Sherman, the pastor of the parish from 1956-1976, oversaw all aspects of the fundraising and building.

As its name implies, the church is dedicated to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Catholics venerate Mary, not only because she is the physical Mother of Christ, but because she is the model of what it means to be a follower of Christ. The New Testament shows Mary as continually open to the Spirit, full of faith, and reaching out to others. Under the title of Immaculate Conception, we honor Mary’s perfect responsiveness to God, free from the inner restraints and obstacles that we experience.

At present the parish has approximately 1000 families.  Fr. Satish Joseph is the Pastor.

Front of the Church  
 
Above the outside entrance, on the outside of the church is a carving of  Mary holding a church in her hands.  Mary is presented as “Mother of the Church.”  She stands between the Apostles because she is “Queen of the Apostles.”  The Apostles on the left are: St. James the Lesser, St. Philip, St. Bartholomew, St. Mathew, St. Andrew, and Sts. Peter and Paul.On the other side of Mary are St. John, St. James the Greater, St. Simon, St. Jude, St. Thomas, and St. Matthias who replaced Judas.  The statue of Mary was carved by Mr. Walter Driesbach of Cincinnati, Ohio, who also designed the figures of the Apostles.

 
Bells 

 
The bell tower stands 101 feet above street level and the bells which were made in Holland, were blessed by Fr. James Sherman on the Feast of St. Michael, Sept. 29, 1965. 
 
The largest bell weighs  3,300 pounds and is dedicated to St. Michael. It is inscribed: “I am Michael, the voice of God in power. I praise the true God, I call the people, I gather the clergy.”

 

The second largest bell weighs 1,683 pounds and is dedicated to St. Gabriel. It is inscribed: “ I am Gabriel, the voice of God in magnificence. I lament the dead. I scatter the clouds. I announce the Holy Days.”

   

The smallest bell weighs 1,000 pounds and is dedicated to St. Raphael. It is inscribed: “I am Raphael, the voice of God casting fire on the earth. I hurry the laggards, I scatter the winds, I pacify the hostile.”

  

All bells are inscribed with the name of the church, Archbishop Alter’s name, Fr. Sherman’s name and the date of the blessing of the bells. 

 

Vestibule Windows   

 
All windows in the church were done by the Conrad Pickel Studio in New Berlin, Wisconsin and most of the glass was imported from Europe. The windows of the vestibule, or main narthex, are faceted glass which is also called chunk glass. Depicted in the six windows from left to right is the work of the six days of Creation. These are abstract presentations.
 

First God created all things, and the waters of the earth and the sky were not separate and the earth was waste and void. Then God separated the light from the darkness, and there was day and night. This is shown in the first window.

   

The second window shows the work of the second day of creation, when God separated the waters of the firmament from the waters of the land.

   

The third day of creation is shown next: God created the sun and the moon.

   

On the fourth day of creation, God created the trees and the plants.

   

The fifth day of creation is shown in the next panel: God created the fishes and the animals. Here are shown two white doves, a white rabbit, two fishes, two other animal heads, and a large serpent.

   

The sixth day of creation concludes God’s work with the creation of Adam and Eve. Their faces are shown pointed to each other; only the hand and foot of each is shown to complete the presentation.


 
Windows Inside the Church  
 
All windows in the church were done by the Conrad Pickel Studio in Wisconsin from glass imported from Europe.

     

Unlike the faceted glass used in the vestibule, the glass in the church proper is mouth-blown antique glass also called pot-metal glass from the pot in which it is made. While the mass of colorless glass is still in the molten state, various metallic ingredients such as gold, cobalt, chromium, etc., are added to produce endless numbers of colors. A lump of the bubbling mass is caught up in a blowpipe and blown into a cylinder, then cut, flattened and cooled. This method of staining glass is the same as that used in the Middle Ages.

   

The six windows present various scenes from Mary’s life. The ventilator below each window carries out further what is depicted in the large panel.

 

Windows In the Nave-North Side     

Reading from left to right, in three panels, we see first, the Presentation of Mary in the temple; second, the Annunciation scene; third, the Visitation. Below the Presentation we see the Star of David, and crowns of Saul and Solomon, showing Mary is of Davidic line. Below the Annunciation, the hand of God is shown from which the Power of the Most High comes upon Mary (shown as the Mystical Rose), joined in marriage to Joseph. Below the  Visitation scene we see the Magnificat, Mary’s Hymn at the Visitation, and John the Baptist’s penitential banner, “Behold the Lamb of God.”

 

Windows In The Nave-South Side   

Reading from right to left, in three panels, we see the Wedding Scene at Cana, where at Mary’s request Christ changed water into wine. It is shown turning to wine as it is poured into the water jars. Beneath this panel the AVE and incense indicate our prayers to Mary.

    

The second panel shows Mary as the Sorrowful Mother, taking Christ into her arms as he was taken down from the Cross. Beneath it the pierced heart further portrays her as the Sorrowful Mother.

    

Finally, in the third panel, Mary is shown as she is crowned Queen of the Universe. This is further indicated in the ventilator below which contains the sun, the moon, and all the heavenly bodies.

 

The Windows in the Baptistry

All the windows carry out the theme of water as an instrument of salvation. Reading from left to right we see five panels. The first shows the creation of all things and the creation of water. The next panel shows the great event in Judaic history, when the Israelites left Egypt. Notice the pyramids in the background. Moses rolled back the waters of the Red Sea, and the Israelites walked through the sea to reach the green grass of the Promised Land. The center panel shows Christ, who commissioned the Apostles to go into the whole world, to teach all nations and to baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The fourth panel shows the sanctification or blessing of the baptismal water at the Easter Vigil Service, when the Paschal candle is immersed into the water in order to sanctify it, just as Christ sanctified the waters of the Jordan River when he descended into the water to receive the baptism of penance from John the Baptist. Last is shown water pouring from the baptismal shell onto the head of one to be baptized. The Holy Spirit then comes upon him, and he turns to God by grace, just as the sunflower (as shown) turns to the sun.
 
The Windows in the South Transcept
The second, third and fourth panels all show our return to God.  A Pope (bishop), priest, deacon, all vested, hold their hands to the Holy Spirit imploring grace, as do figures portraying people in all stages of life.  Especially in the last panel one sees an old man toddling to the grave, asking for grace; a mother holding her child to the Holy Spirit, imploring grace for the child through baptism; a teenager holding her hands up and imploring grace also.  The ventilators below, in order show from left to right:  The foundation of the church; the infallibility of the church as exercised by the Pope, and all the bishops; the offering of worship throught the Mass (the harp and grape vine); and finally, prayer and penance-the oil lamp, the book of prayer.
 
The Windows flanking the sanctuary
The window on the south side shows Christ appearing to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque at Para-le-Monial in France.  The window on the north side depicts Mary appearing to St. Bernadette at Lourdes.
 
The Windows in the North Transcept
Reading right to left, we see in four panels the theme:  God comes to us.  the first panel depicts the Nativity scene; below are the crowns of the Magi and the doves which Mary offered when she presented the child Jesus in temple. 
 
The second panel depicts Christ's Public Life-the Sermon on the Mount and shows the mutitudes that went out to hear Him.  The ventilator below shows the birds of the air drinking rom the Fountain of Life, for Christ called Himself the Fountain of Living Water.
 
The third panel depicts Christ's redeeming Death on the Cross.  The ventilator shows the instruments of His Passion.
 
The fourth and last panel shows Christ's Glorious Resurrection.  Below one sees the Phoenix-or mythical bird which is a symbol of the Resurrection; in Egypt mythology it was said to rise from its own funeral ashes.
 
Cross (Crucifix)                      
 
The mystery of the cross stands forth in every sanctuary. The crucifix is found near or above the altar where that mystery is celebrated. The history of its placement there was a long and gradual one. For the early Christian, the cross brought painful memories for it was still in use as a means of execution. The earliest crosses were symbols of victory. Thus the earliest portrayals of Jesus upon the cross, from the 6th to the 12th century, show him alive, crowned and robed in majesty as a king. Perhaps the crusades and pilgrimages to the Holy Land helped to present the Lord in his sufferings, for from the 13th century on the crucifix became associated with the passion and death. Today, crucifixes attempt to convey both aspects of the redemption Christ achieved by his death and resurrection.

 

Above the sanctuary hangs a cross. This cross is called a Greek cross because the vertical and horizontal bars are of equal length (the Latin cross has a vertical bar which is twice the length of the horizontal bar). The cross emphasizes the resurrection of Jesus since there is no corpus. The square and circles represent precious metals. The triangular shapes symbolize angels. In the four quadrants of the cross are the four symbols of the evangelists. These symbols are derived from Revelation 4:7 wherein the four living creations are mentioned. Since the late second century these four creatures have been used to symbolize the four evangelists: the man is Matthew, the lion is Mark, the ox is Luke, and the eagle is John.

 
Organ 
 
The organ first made its appearance in the 8th or 9th century, and was very small, designed only to accompany the choir. By the 16th century, organs often became so large that they had to be placed in a large gallery away from the sanctuary; naturally, the choir often had to move as well, which explains how choir-lofts came into being. In modern times, other musical instruments have been re-introduced, including flutes and guitars.

 

The organ at Immaculate Conception was built by the Austin Organ Company of Hartford, Conn. in 1966. It has 1,917 pipes in 34 ranks, or sets of pipes. The tallest pipe, the one with the deepest tone, is 16 feet long. The shortest one is ¾ inches long and has the highest tone. The great manual or middle keyboard controls the pipes we can see. There are also unexposed pipes in chambers behind the exposed pipes. The pipes are made of lead, tin, zinc, and wood.

 
Restoration work on the organ and pipes was completed during 2012/2013.
 
Cornerstone 
 
The cornerstone of the church is located on the north wall of the sanctuary. It contains various parish articles such as bulletin with building information, names of workers on the pledge drive, pledges made, and permission to build. The cornerstone was laid May 1, 1966 by Bishop Paul Leibold.

 

The words on the cornerstone read:           

“Come Lord Jesus. Come King and Cornerstone of Your Church, rule and make firm the Church of the Immaculate Conception.  In the honor of each this stone is placed.”


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