St. Ignatius Mission is open to visitors from 9 am to 5 pm 7 days a week.

Mass Times
Sunday 9 am & 5 pm
Monday & Friday, 7:15 am in Rectory
at St. Ignatius Mission

Sunday 11:30 am
at Sacred Heart, Arlee

Sunday Masses will also be live-streamed
from our sister parish, St. Francis Xavier at
10:00 am

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The Annual Catholic Appeal is the main fundraiser for the Diocese of Helena.   Although St. Ignatius Mission Parish, Sacred Heart Mission, & St. John Berchmans Mission are under the care of the Society of Jesus, we are a diocesan parish and missions.  As such, it is important to support the ACA, this year in particular.  COVID-19 has hit many parishes hard and unequally. After just a few short weeks of the ACA, St. Ignatius Mission, Sacred Heart & John Berchmans are at 76% of our assessment.  Thank you to all who have made a donation.  If you have not yet donated, I ask that you take the possibility to prayer and consider supporting the ACA.

C. Hightower, SJ


Bishop Vetter has extended the Suspension of Sunday Obligation for all.  If you are feeling unwell, uncomfortable, or chose to not wear a mask, we are asking you to stay home. 

2nd Sunday of Advent, B 

To join Frs. Hightower & Cancino online from St. Francis Xavier

Click HERE

To watch past liturgies and other videos, click HERE

St. Ignatius in the news, click HERE.

‘Murals of Saint Ignatius Church highlight Easter season’

Bishop Austin A. Vetter continues to celebrate on-line liturgies.  Daily masses are at noon and will be livestreamed on the diocesan website:

Bishop Vetter has encouraged all to pray the

‘Spiritual Communion Prayer’ when praying Mass on-line.

The Mission

All are welcome to the following mass times in St. Ignatius


9:00 am (Vulnerable and Aged)


5:00 pm (Families and Children)


8:00 am (Followed by Eucharist Adoration until 10:00 am. Confessions will be available.)

Monday-Tuesday Rectory

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Sacred Heart

All are welcome to the following mass times in Arlee


11:30 am (Open)

John Berchmans

All are welcome to the following mass times in Jocko


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Our Mission

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St. Ignatius Mission consists of three communities: The Mission, Sacred Heart Mission/Arlee, and John Berchmans/Jocko. Located among the Salish & Kootenai peoples, we are Catholic communities of the Diocese of Helena grounded in the Jesuit tradition. We search for God's will on a continuous basis, responding to the evolving needs of our people and our society, especially in the areas of sacramental ministry, enculturation, spiritual development, faith formation, and social justice.

Our History

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Indian Peoples and Jesuits in the West have participated together in an unfolding story for the past 180 years.

– Patrick J. Twohy, S.J.

Visions came in the late 1700’s to Chief Shining Shirt of the Pend d’Oreille tribe in Mission Valley, Montana, that one day men would come in black robes and teach important new truths about religion. Some years later Catholic Iroquois spread throughout the West working as canoemen for the Hudson’s Bay Company. They too spoke of a new religion and of men in black robes who carried a crucifix and said a great prayer.

These early traditions had a dramatic meeting in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley south of Missoula in 1820. A band of Catholic Mohawk Iroquois had migrated under the leadership of Ignace LaMousse and settled among the Salish Flatheads in their Bitterroot Valley. Old Ignace, as he was known, taught the sign of the cross and Catholic prayers to the Flatheads, baptized their children, and marked their graves with a cross. He urged the need for Blackrobes who could say the great prayer (Mass) among them.

In 1831 a delegation of Flatheads and allied Nez Perce journeyed 1600 miles to St. Louis to seek Blackrobes. The delegates’ deaths prevented the acquisitions of Blackrobes. In 1835, and again in 1837, Old Ignace traveled to St. Louis to petition for Blackrobes. However, a Sioux attack on the South Platte River resulted in the deaths of LaMousse and his traveling companions.

An 1839 delegation encountered Fr. Peter De Smet, a Belgian Jesuit in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and convinced him to come to the Flatheads. Arriving in 1840, De Smet was so impressed with the eagerness of the Flatheads, their knowledge of Christianity, and their morals, he returned to St. Louis to secure funding for the founding of Catholic Missions.

In rapid succession, De Smet of his fellow Jesuits founded missions among the Flatheads in 1841, the Coeur d’Alenes in 1842, the Kalispels in 1844 and the Colviles in 1845.

St. Ignatius Mission Parish was founded in 1845 by Fathers De Smet, S.J. and Adrian Hoecken, S.J. along the Washington/Idaho border and moved to our present location in 1854. The Mission, and the town which grew up around it, were the home to the first Jesuit theologate and industrial arts school in Montana. The home to the first Catholic Sisters, (1864), first Catholic school, and hospital in Montana. St. Ignatius Mission is the oldest continually active Catholic parish, in the Jesuit tradition, in the West.


Excerpted and edited from the pamphlets:

“Visions of Chiefs and the Iroquois Connection: The Northwest Tribes and the Catholic Way” by Rev. Thomas Connolly, S.J.


“St. Ignatius Mission: National Historic Site” by Rev. Joseph Obersinner, S.J. and Judy Griztmacher.


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