IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, WATERSMEET HISTORY
Started as a mission of Ewen in the 1880s, Immaculate Conception Parish in Watersmeet has been independent since 1916. The first resident pastor arrived in 1916. The original church was built around 1890 and the rectory in 1916.
Father Samuel Bottoni, began his long 44-year pastorate from 1952 to 1996 and led the parish in construction of a modern church building. The original church was moved farther back. The new church was dedicated July 7, 1956.
The original church and rectory were moved eight miles south to Camp Plagens on the shore of Moon Lake.
Camp Plagens was located at the northeast end of the lake. The camp was originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930’s. It was used as a winter training camp for troops during the late 30’s and early 40’s. . Camp Plagens was later donated to the Diocese of Marquette and was used as a summer camp for youth until the middle 1970′ s.
Father Samuel Battoni continued to hold Saturday evening and Sunday evening Catholic masses at Camp Plagens in St. John’s Chapel until the mid 1990’s. Shortly after Father Battoni’s death in 1995, the camp was sold to the Lac Vieux Desert tribe in Watersmeet. In the spring of 2003 the tribe received a grant to restore the one barracks building and the chapel for use as an historical museum.
On July 1, 2019, Bishop John Doerffler joined Immaculate Conception Church to the parishes of St. Agnes in Iron River and St. Cecilia in Caspian. Fr. Gregory Veneklase was assigned as Pastor/Administrator with Fr Jeffrey Kurtz remaining as resident priest.
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Immaculate Conception Church
Watersmeet, Michigan on July 1, 2019 for Installation of Fr. Gregory Veneklase as Pastor.