In March 1892, $75 was paid to purchase a plot of land on the south end of Tres Pinos to build a church. Throughout the spring, summer and fall, the community of Tres Pinos began turning out long planks of pine and oak and blacksmiths carefully hammered out hinges, doorplates and other metal fixtures, all to be driven out to Quien Sabe Road. The sound of hammers and sawing intermingled in a joyous blend of purpose. Each man working on the project had a sense of pride and even destiny. As the framework rose, visitors rode in by wagon and train to admire the craftsmanship, recognizing that here was something excellent, a building that would stand against time.
On the morning of December 8, 1892, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Father Bernard Smith arrived before dawn. Many wagons from Hollister, San Juan and the surrounding ranches had traversed the muddy road to join the worshippers already standing in front of the mission church. When Fr. Bernard raised his arms in greeting, just before saying the first mass, he must have fleetingly wondered if the Mission San Juan Bautista and Sacred Heart Church had empty pews that day. When the service was done, Father Bernard stationed himself at the door and each of the many people who had packed the church took his hand and smiled and said how wonderful it was. (excerpted from The First 100 Years of Immaculate Conception Church).
120 years later, on Saturday, December 8, 2012, at 5 p.m., Bishop Richard Garcia, Reverend Heiber Castaneda as well as parishioners and many guests celebrated a special Anniversary Mass. An excellent and tasty dinner followed.
Today, just as 120 years ago, the celebrant greets church goers at the door with an exchange of hands, hugs and smiles.