Churchgoers can be very particular about their parish priests, as Pendleton Catholics discovered in March 1893.
Members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Pendleton wended their way to church as usual on March 12, 1893, only to be turned away. The doors were locked. There was nothing they could do but return home.
Though most of the parishioners were reluctant to talk about the incident, it was discovered that Thomas Milarkey, one of two trustees to whom the church property was deeded, and the only keyholder, had taken affront after his favorite priest, Father Hogan, was moved to another parish and a former pastor, Father DeRoo, was re-posted to serve the Pendleton church.
Determined to make his objection known, Milarkey decided that Father DeRoo would not be allowed to enter the church to conduct mass.
Local parishioners decided to let church authorities handle the incident, and Archbishop Gross was due to arrive in Pendleton later in the week to straighten the matter out.