History of SS. Cyril & Methodius Church

Bishop John Brondel dedicated the Cornerstone of Sts. Cyril & Methodius Church on November 16, 1895. The church itself was dedicated on July 23, 1899. The new church, placed under the patronage of Sts. Cyril & Methodius, was constructed at a cost of $3,450.80. The building was built of native red porphyry donated by T.C. Power and quarried south of East Helena. Much of the labor was donated by stonemasons and carpenters from the new parish. Major rebuilding was necessary after the 1935 earthquakes. The St. Ann's School building was built in 1928 and the last class graduated in 1967. The brick rectory was constructed in 1946. Under Father Mavsar's leadership many innovations in parish life have been undertaken, the most important of which was construction of a new multi-faceted parish facility. The new edifice was dedicated by Bishop Elden F. Curtiss on June 8th, 1989.

Included within the parish of Sts. Cyril & Methodius are the missions: St. John's at Clancy, and Our Lady of the Lake at Canyon Ferry. St. John's history reaches back to January 1900, when Bishop Brondel purchased land across the street from the Clancy schoolhouse. In the same year he acquired the schoolhouse and had it moved to the site purchased earlier. The building became St. John's Catholic Church after having served for six years as the Methodist house of worship. In 1911, after the appointment of the first residential pastor in East Helena, St. John's was delegated to the pastor of East Helena as a mission church.

Father Charles McCarthy transferred services to the Methodist church in Clancy because of the deterioration of St. John's. In 1980, the growing Catholic community of St. John's undertook the renovation of the old building which was rededicated on March 9, 1986 by Bishop Curtiss. Mass is offered there every Sunday.

Another vital and expanding Catholic community has developed at Canyon Ferry. As far back as 1951 Mass was offered occasionally in private homes or at the Canyon Ferry School. Father McCarthy began a fund drive and Father White continued it with regular summer services held in the community center owned by the Bureau of Reclamation. On July 25, 1982, the new building was dedicated by Bishop Curtiss as Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church. It is located on Canyon Ferry Lake in Magpie Gulch on land donated by Josephine Sheriff Cope and Jim Gist. Mass is offered each Sunday from May until the end of October, and once each month during winter period.

The need for a new facility in East Helena became obvious in 1980 after a careful study was made by Father Mavsar and the Parish Council. Population trends indicated that the community would grow and that a new facility would be needed to meet the demands of the future. In 1988 the parish planning board resolved that construction of the new building would begin at a estimated cost of $ 1,200,000. The building was completed and dedicated on June 8th, 1989. Many features of the old building are incorporated in the new, including the original porphyry stone and the stained glass windows. All aspects of parish life are conducted in the new building including religious education, RCIA, parish meetings social gatherings, prayer and study groups, and parish business affairs. The facility is also used for diocesan meetings and activities such as Journey, Search, and CYC Board meetings.