About Our Parish
In 1887, the first Catholic parish in the Verde Valley, Holy Family in Jerome, was founded and served the people of Jerome, Clarkdale, Clemenceau, and Cottonwood.
As the area grew more space for worship was needed. In 1924, St. Cecilia Mission was founded to meet the needs of the growing Clarkdale/Cottonwood community.
The booming growth of the Verde Valley continued and a few years later, the Immaculate Conception Mission was founded at Cottonwood in 1930. Fr. Charles Bartusch, CMF, built the church at 421 North Willard in Cottonwood. In 1943, Fr. John Atucha, CMF, a priest from Spain, added the sacristy to the Church himself. Father Driscoll established the first Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) and built the recreation hall in 1953. Priests lived in a rented residence in Clarkdale until the rectory was built in 1955.
The first Parish Council, elected in 1965, updated the sanctuary by providing a new altar, ambo, and acolyte benches. In 1966, Immaculate Conception Church was separated from Clarkdale and was established as a separate Parish. Fr. John J. Hannon was the first pastor. St. Cecilia became its mission on September 23, 1971.
As times changed and the mines were closed, Immaculate Conception became the primary Church in the valley with St. Cecilia serving as its Mission. In the late 1990’s, both churches outgrew the rapid population growth in the valley. The Diocese of Phoenix purchased enough land to build a new church, grade school and high school. St. Joseph Montessori School opened on August 21, 2006 with 60 students. A temporary church in portable buildings was constructed and opened in 2002.
Fr. David Kelash broke ground for a new church building in December 2007, and construction started in the summer of 2008. The new church was dedicated on December 8, 2009, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. St. Joseph School moved from its original site into a new school building on the site of the parish in October 2015.
What We Believe: As Catholics or universal Christians, we are members of the Roman Catholic Church instituted by Jesus Christ, led by the apostles and their successors for more than 2,000 years and strengthened through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Catholics are called to live their faith throughout their day-to-day activities as well as spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. We are united by our common beliefs that are set forth in our statement of beliefs, the Nicene Creed. This creed was established in 325 A.D. and is proclaimed as our statement of faith during the Mass by the assembly. (CCC, 198)