On August 17, 1953, Bishop Charles D. White established the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Walla Walla. All of the area east of Division Street is included in the Parish.
Father Albert F. Austen was named pastor in August 1953. Ten acres including a house were purchased at the east end of Alder. An addition was built to the house, and it became the rectory. The first building to be constructed on the property was a grade school: five classrooms, an auditorium and kitchen facilities. The first Mass in the auditorium was Easter 1955; Bishop Topel dedicated the building January 8, 1956. A house purchased across Alder Street served as the convent for the Dominican Sisters of Tacoma, the first teachers when school began in the fall of 1955.
In November 1960, Father John J. Kelley became pastor. During his years of leadership several buildings were added to the parish compound: two classrooms and convent September, 1964 and church and rectory September, 1967. A shrine dedicated to the Blessed Virgin featuring a marble statue carved in Italy was constructed in 1962.
In the 20 years that followed, the pastors who served continued to build up parish unity by meaningful liturgy, strong support of schools, dinners for bereaved families and their friends after funerals, soup suppers in Lent, coffee hours after Sunday masses, an active women’s group, and summer picnics. During those years the parish was served by: John W. O’Dea, 1961-1977; James P.Healy, 1977-1981; Edward F. Caffrey, 1981-1983; Raymond Malley SM, 1983-1988; James Grant, Jan.1988-Mar.1988; and Joy Pazhampassery, Apr.1988-Jun.1988.
Father Otto Koltzenburg was named pastor in June 1988 and served until July, 2002. In 1995, the beautiful stained glass entry wall, a gift of Laura Kamp, was installed. That same year a large parish hall, complete with kitchen, was constructed adjoining the church.
During the pastorate of Father Tim Hays, 2002-2011, the beauty of the sanctuary was greatly enhanced by the replacement of the skylight, the purchase of a new tabernacle, and the positioning of a purple heartwood crucifix on the wall behind the tabernacle.
In July 2011, Father Patrick Kerst became pastor of all the Walla Walla parishes until July 2012, when Father Pedro Bautista Peraza replaced him. Acting under his inspiration, Assumption parish has continued its concern for feeding the poor by building a garden with raised beds in the field behind the church. It will be ready early next spring to produce vegetables for local food banks.