St. John the Evangelist

July 18, 1926 – Present


     The church of St. John was built out of the desire by the Archdiocese of Oregon to provide a means by which Catholic’s who cut wood and skiers using the Mt. Hood Forest would be able to meet their duty of attending Mass on Sundays, and was to be serviced by Benedictine priests from the Mt. Angel Abbey.

     A one-acre piece of property was donated by Mrs. Honora Murphy, the aunt of Abbot Bernard Murphy O.S.B. of Mt. Angel, from her ranch called Ilo Ilo in Welches, Oregon.  The Holy Name Society was given the task of raising the money needed to build the chapel.  The chapel was designed by William Laing of Portland and constructed by J.L. Sheasgreen of Portland.

     On July 18, 1926 the new St. John Chapel was blessed by the Rt. Referend A. Hildebrand, Administrator of the Archdiocese, and Fr. Bonaventure O.S.B., was named as the pastor.  It was to be a mission of St. Michael’s in Sandy.  The Chapel met the needs of the approximately 40 families living in the area and the many visitors wanting to attend Mass on Sundays.

     In 1937 the chapel collapsed from the weight of heavy snow and rain.  The new chapel built by John Steiner and was blessed by Archbishop Howard on September 6, 1937.  Fr. Martin Doherty, pastor of St. Aloysius was named as pastor of St. Johns, and it became a mission of St. Aloysius in Estacada and would remain there until 1952 when it was transferred back to St. Michael’s in Sandy.

     At times during these years there were two masses said in the summer months on Sunday and during the winter one mass at 8:30 am.

     The log cabin church served the mountain community until 1971 when Highway 26 was widened to four lanes and took 16 feet of property from the church.  Due to land use laws the church had to be relocated.  It was too costly for the church to be moved by the Archdiocese and was sold to the Mt. Players, a local theatrical group.  Eventually the Mt. Players sold the former church.  In 1979 the new owners applied for and received historical landmark status for the log cabin from the Oregon Historical Commission.

     A new church was built at its present location on Woodsey Way.  The stained glass windows and log pews had been removed from the log cabin church and placed in the new church where they remain today.  The “third” version of St. John was blessed by Archbishop Dwyer on June 9, 1972.  Fr. Gimpl from St. Michael’s in Sandy was named as the priest, administrator.

     Over the years, St. John has been a home for Lutherans and Episcopalians living on the mountain.  Ties between St. John and St. Michael continued and it wasn’t until 1997 that St. John received its own administrator, Fr. Robert Palladino.  He served St. John until his retirement in 2007.  It was during this time that the “in the Woods” was added to the name St. John.  It came from Fr. Jack Krall who used the phrase when describing the whereabouts of the church to friends and colleagues.

     In 2007, St. John renewed its relationship with St. Michael’s and Fr. Pat Walsh held services until his retirement in 2012.  Today we are blessed to have Fr. Dominic Tumusiime be a part of the St. John Family.


     St. John has changed over the years thanks to talents and sacrifices of its leaders, their friends and the members of the congregation.  But what hasn’t changed is the caring and kind people who make up the membership of this special church.

Pastors of St. John the Evangelist

1926 – 1935    Fr. Notker O.S.B.

Fr. Bonaventure O.S.B.

Fr. Raphael O.S.B.

Fr. Hilary O.S.B.

1935 – 1939    Fr. Doherty

1939 – 1940    Fr. Ready

1940 – 1943    Fr. Cowder

1943 – 1953    Fr. Deplanche

1953 – 1958    Fr. Fritz

1958 – 1966    Fr. Jackson

1966 – 1968    Fr. Cormier

1968 – 1973    Fr. Gimpl

1943 – 1975    Fr. Batory

1975 – 1978    Fr. Arata

1978 – 1984    Fr. Gimpl

1984 – 1994    Fr. Rodrigues

1994 – 1995    Fr. Dare

1995 – 1997    Fr. Mayo

1997 – 2007    Fr. Palladino

2007 – 2012    Fr. Walsh

2012 – 2016     Fr. Dominic

2016-                  Fr. Manuel Becerra