The first Mass said in the town of Ferdinand was to the congregation by Fr. Alois Soer, S.J. of the Indian Mission of Lapwai in December 1897 at the residence of F.M. Bieker. Fr. Louis Mueller of Cottonwood said Mass at Nick Kinzer’s residence in 1899.
In January 1900 permission was granted by the Most Rev. A. J. Glorieux to build a church in Ferdinand. At that time regular services were held every other Tuesday by Fr. Maximus Parolini of Keuterville at the Bieker residence. Logs were hauled to Joe Bieker’s sawmill and the lumber for the church was cut. Joe Bieker donated the use of his mill and the Catholic people of Ferdinand donated their work. In the fall of that same year, Bishop A. J. Glorieux visited Ferdinand and selected a site for the church on land owned by F. M. Bieker. In June 1901, the church was erected by Adam Kammers of Westlake according to his own plans and under the direction of Fr. Parolini, who had charge of the congregation from January 1900 to June 1902.
The congregation remained without a priest until January 1903, when Fr. Hawelka of Keuterville took charge holding services once a month on Sundays.
Joe and Rose (Sarbacher) Herzog were the first couple married in the Ferdinand church on June 15, 1903. On November 24 of that year, Clemens Frei and Philomena Uhlorn were married in the new church. Rudolph Herzog was the first baby boy and Rosie Gerding the first baby girl baptized at Assumption Church.
In January 1904, a priest house was erected and Fr. Hawelka became the first pastor of Assumption Church. He was also in charge of St. Anthony Parish, Greencreek, at the time. In June he was sent to Weiser. Fr. E. A. Aufenkolk arrived in September 1904.
Fr. Boniface, O.S.B., was assigned pastor of the parish in October 1907, holding services each Sunday and each Holyday. He resided during the week in Cottonwood. The statues of the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, and the Sacred Heart were furnished and blessed after his arrival. The First Friday devotion was inaugurated in October 1908. On December 8, the Confraternity of Christian Mothers was established by enrollment of 15 members.
In 1909, it was resolved to erect a school building. September 20, 40 pupils started the school year. The Sisters of St. Benedict from St. Gertrude’s Convent formed the teaching staff in September 1912-1913 with Sr. M. Albertine in charge. They continued teaching until consolidation of the schools.
An addition was built on to the church in 1915. On March 26, 1917, the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin was established.
Fr. Jerome Veth. O.S.B., became pastor in September 1918. The St. Joseph Society was organized. On June 1, Bishop Gorman confirmed a class of candidates. Electric lights were installed in the parish buildings, a woven wire fence was erected in front of the church property, and a large bronze crucifix was erected in the cemetery. During the winter of 1919, the influenza epidemic occurred, causing suspension of school classes for several weeks.
On Marcy 29, 1921, a fire destroyed the hotel, three stores and a residence in Ferdinand. Although the rectory was endangered, it was spared.
Fr. Michael Baumgartner, O.S.B., was appointed pastor in September 1922. The parish at this time had about 50 families. He tended to the spiritual needs of the parish until August 1926, when Fr. J. Wagner became pastor. During his pastorate, the new brick school was erected, three classrooms, a chapel and a full basement. The mission at Craigmont was added to the parish church. Also, the parochial school was converted into a public school district, retaining the Benedictine Sisters as teachers. Fr. Michael L. Mroz was appointed pastor January 1938 to 1942, with Fr. H. E. Heitman as pastor for the next six years. Other pastors were Fr. James Hallissey, Fr. D. L. McElligott, Fr. J. B. Kunkel and Fr. William Ordway. The new rectory was completed in 1954. Fr. T. A. Heeran came in 1955 for two years.
Fr. P. J. O’Sullivan became pastor in August 1957. The Sisters residence was built in 1958. Construction of a new church was started September, 1962 and dedicated May 1963. After Fr. O’Sullivan left in January 1968, Fr. Joseph Muha, Fr. Thomas G. Taylor, Fr. B. C. McCarthy, Fr. Juntz and Fr. Merlyn Sprute attended to the parish needs.
Fr. Robert J. Waldmann was pastor from 1972 until June 1977, Fr. Don Fraser and Fr. K. E. Siu, Fr. Dominic Daws and Fr. Victor Lustig were here also. On June 20, 1980, Gerald J. Funke was ordained into the Order of Presbyter in Assumption Parish.
Fr. Liam Davitt, 1982 – 1987, Fr. Thomas Mathes, 1987 – 1992 and Fr. Simeon Van De Voord, 1992 – 1993, tended to the parishes of Assumption and St. Anthony. During Fr. Mathes’ time, the church was renovated, adding restrooms, and making much needed changes.
Fr. Canisius Hayes, S.J. came July 1993 and cared for both parishes until his death October 6, 2000. Fr. Andrew J. Schumacher added Assumption and St. Anthony to his congregation at St. Mary’s, Cottonwood, and took care of all three parishes until he retired June 2004. Fr. Camillus Temba, ALCP, spent the next three years here caring for the parishes.
On July 1, 2007, Fr. Richard S. Haldane arrived to the parish. To make easier planning, the councils were combined from the parishes – pastoral, finance, and liturgy. Individual parish programs were also combined – youth ministry, adult faith formation, and religious education for students. Construction started in the fall of 2011 for a four-classroom building located across from Prairie Elementary School, for religious education and meetings/social gatherings.
Father Richard Haldane retired in July 2012. Father Paul H. Wander moved to the Camas Prairie to pastor the Tri-Parishes, he moved her from St. Charles Parish, Salmon, Idaho.