The "kick-off" campaign to raise money for the new church of St. Birgitta April 16, 1955
The follow history was published in the 1976 souvenir program celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of the parish:
The History of St. Birgitta Parish
Some time after Father Zalud died, Father Hotovy, of Czech descent, came from Nebraska as pastor in Scappoose. Through the efforts of Mr.John Kovach it was arranged with the Father from the University of Portland, and approved by the Most Reverend Archbishop Edward D. Howard, that one Sunday a month Father Hotovy would come to St. Birgitta to say Mass and preach and hear confessions in Slovak, and the Father from the University of Portland would go to Scappoose. Due to the fact that Father Hotovy served Slovak people in the Slovak language, Slovaks from other parishes in the City of Portland would come to St. Birgitta on that Sunday. Mr. John Kovach, worrying about the bills did not mind seeing the Slovaks come, because on that Sunday the collection would come up to $13.00, while on other Sundays the collection was only about $2.00, often even less.
In 1950 a new Board of Trustees was elected: Mr. john Illias, Mr. Michael Illias , Mr. A. Verbout, Mr. Norman Joergenson, and Mr. Joseph Illias as treasurer, who signed the checks. During this time the church was painted inside, the roof was painted, a new confessional was built, and repairs to the foundation were made. The balance in the bank at the end of their term was $3593.25.
In 1938 St. Birgitta was again given to the care of the Priests of St. Patrick's. Father Louis Sanders was the pastor and Father Paul D. Malyszko remembers that during the Drive for Central Catholic High School, St. Birgitta went over its quota. In June of 1944 Father John Mitchell, as pastor, inherited Father Sanders' assistant, Father Paul Zeller. At that time Father Daniel Hurley was in residence. He was followed by Father L. Saalfeld, then Father Joseph Neuville. Father James Gallagher came in 1948 as assistant and stayed onIy one year, when he was succeeded by Father James Harris. After him came Father Franz Schubert. The assistants and resident priests usually took care of St. Birgitta parish but the pastors took their turns, too.
On September 16, 1954 Most Reverent Edward D. Howard transferred Father Milan Mikulich, OFM., S.T.D. from St. Joseph Church in Kronenberg (SE Powell Blvd. and 166th Ave., Portland) to St. Birgitta as the resident pastor, with the intention of trying either to provide a site for a new church with parking space and other facilities, or to close entirely the old church and divide the territory between the neighboring parishes, since the old church could not survive too long in the age of modern transportation. By the same decree Archbishop Howard entrusted to Father Milan's spiritual care also Croatian, Slovenian, Slovak and Czech people of the city of Portland in the spirit of the Apostolic Constitution "Exsul Familia".
Fr. John Mitchell Fr. P.D. Malyszko Fr. L. Saalfeld
The people of St. Birgitta welcomed Father MiIan by giving a potluck dinner and housewares "shower" which provided him with needed utensils including innumerable sets of bowls.
To relieve the men who were burdened with getting up early on Sundays to start the fire, the first step was to transform the furnace from briquets to an automatic oil furnace. Activities began to grow and cooperation of the parishioners, Croatian people and Father Milan's friends helped greatly toward some evident progress. In the spring of 1955 through the help of A. D. Newman, realtor, about 3 acres of land was purchased from the mother of Mr. Archie Kingsley, owner of Kingsley Lumber Co. at a cost of $6,500.00. After the papers were signed, even before Mrs. Kingsley was paid by the church, her son, Archie, purchased the property of the West Oregon Lumber Co. and, wanting to have an exit to U.S. Highway 30, was willing to buy the property back from the church, offering much more money. Also, Mr. Dudley Jones from Commonwealth, Inc. approached Father Milan, offering to the church enough money to buy property elsewhere and also to build the church itself, because an industrial firm was eager to have that piece of land. Since there was no other suitable site in the area for the church, Archbishop Howard decided against selling it. In 1959 Mr. Kingsley donated a lot and old house adjacent to the church property because the new church had improved Linnton and the activities had made Linnton better known. The house was razed, and that lot is now part of the parking area.
In the beginning there was a suggestion to move the old building to the new site, but the cost of moving was too high. Then it was decided by the parishioners, pastor and officials from the chancery office to call Carlton Chapels, a Portland firm, which was prefabricating churches and delivering them all over the United States.
Under the supervision of Mr. John Stanton of Jacobberger and Stanton, Architects , the groundbreaking ceremony took place on August 15, 1955. After the foundation and cement block walls and the floor were finished by the volunteers with the donated help and supervision of Knez & Son, General Contractors, one Saturday morning in September Carlton Chapels delivered the building in sections. With the help of volunteers, all outside walls were put up before the day was over. As a result, many people who went to Portland in the morning, were surprised to see a new building in the evening. For that reason, it was called a "MIRACLE CHURCH" .