Newspaper Archive of
Catholic Northwest Progress
Seattle, Washington
November 30, 1962     Catholic Northwest Progress
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November 30, 1962

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Page 2, Seconc iecfion--THE PROGRESS Nov. Father ldebrand i+ o + o + o + o + o + o + o o + o + o + If you have never been privileged to meet the Rev. Hildebrand Melchior, O.S.B., you have a rare pleasure awaiting you. To the thousands who do know him, those who know of his tireless energy and limitless .ideas, Father Hildebrand makes most younger men seem idle. He is, in fact, the youngest 75 year old we know. Mt. Angel Towers is Father Hildebrand's inspiration-its completion his dream. With accomplishment in sight, he serves as the guiding light for the entire project. Father Hildebrand's parents were German born American citizens who settled in Tillamook, Oregon, when he was twelve years old. He had a foretaste of things to come when, in addition to his farm chores and school work, he found time to help his father build schools, churches and other structures for the benefit of the public. Upon finishing high school, Father enrolled at Mt. Angel Sem- inary. He made his religious profession as a son of St. Benedict in 1910 and five years later was ordained. Before assignment to his home parish which comprised all of Til- lamook county, Father Hildebrand gained considerable note as a basketball coach: Priestly duties in his far-flung parish brought a halt to this activity, however. Within the county, his building experience came into full play with construction of the Cloverdale church as well as the beautiful and unique St. Mary's by the Sea at Rockaway. He was also responsible for building the parish school at Tillamook, making use of native rock in its construction. In 1939, Father was appointed Assistant Pastor of St. Mary's in Mt. Angel. This Gothic structure, one of the most beautiful churches in the Pacific Northwest, was built by residents of Mt. Angel in 1912. Ever restless to be of further service, Father Hilde- brand served as a chaplain in the National Guard during World War II; the friend and confidant of servicemen on many fronts. Enlisting the aid of parishioners at home in corresponding with men 0veseas, he also, with their help, published a small monthly magazine called "Cheer" which was sent to each of the men in service from the community. Our Senior Citizens have always held a very special place in the thoughts of Father Hildebrand. It was in the interest of those re- tired or alone and in need of activity plus a little extra income, that he and a group of local people brought into being the Bene- dictine Art Shop. Providing light, pleasurable work in manufac- turing religious articles has provided reawakened interest for many. The Art Shop itself, located in the Parish House basement, has become a substantial enterprise combining importations with its own production of gifts and religious articles in sales through- out the country. More, if space permitted, could be told about the countless activ- ities of Father Hildebrand, including the famed pilgrimages at Holy Rosary Parish in Crooked Finger, Oregon. Suffice it to say that this, the smallest parish in the Archdiocese and of which Father Hildebrand is pastor, draws many thousands of pilgrims on universal feast days of our Blessed Mother to participate in and observe the beautiful candlelight processions through the night darkened hills. In recognition of these observances, Father Hildebrand received the blessing of the Holy Father with special indulgences for seven years as well as permission to increase the times allowed for the pilgrimages in August and on other occasions. Now at the point of realization is Father's great hope-a place where people of retirement age can enjoy completely independent, happy, homelike surroundings in a truly Christian atmosphere- Mt. Angel Towers. Father Hildebrand discussed ways and means of bringing his dream to reality with a number of business and professional people in the mid-Willamette area. These discussions resulted in the in- orporation of Mt. Angel Towers as a non-profit organization hav- ing as its purpose the planning, construction, operation and main- tenance of a project to provide exceptional living quarters for per- sons of over 61 years of age to enjoy in ease and comfort. +o+o-l-o+oo+o+o+o+o+o-bo+