Our Rich and Spiritual History

The rich and spiritual history of St. Joseph’s began with the Jesuit Fathers in 1834. The first church, a wooden structure built between 1846 and 1848 served as a combination church, school and lodging for visiting missionaries. In 1868 it was decided a new church was needed and the present structure was built. The church remained the same for nearly 30 years and in 1897 the upper part of the tower and the steeple was completed. Later the slate roof was added. In 1961 a sacristy with storage underneath was added a complete renovation was done to the church. In the 1970’s carpeting and air conditioning were a welcome addition. The church today has had a recent renovation started in 1998 and is now complete. We hope to enter the future with the same faith and dedication our ancestors had for St Joseph’s so many years ago.

St. Joseph School was built in 1892. Each parish family hauled 300 bricks from Washington, Missouri, to be used in the two-room school building. In 1951 the school auditorium was added to the back of the school. In 2006, the school building was razed and today the St. Joseph Parish Center continues the tradition of providing parishioners with a gathering place and classrooms for the parish school of religion.

Parts of the old school were saved to be added to the new parish center: the concrete cross above the doors, the hand-made metal letters that spell out St. Joseph’s School, the Blessed Virgin’s statue shown in front of school, and some of the bricks.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on April 25, 2007. Fr Kevin blessed the ground for the new hall then joined the Building Committee in breaking ground. Fr. Kevin used the historical shovel previously used for the school auditorium groundbreaking.

Lithuanian Folk Cross, made by Fr. Anthony Bukaskus, was placed on the lawn in front of church in 1974. (click image to enlarge)

St. Joseph’s Pastors:

1850 – 1881 The Jesuit Missionaries
1881 – 1882 Fr. William Boden
1882 – 1882 Fr. Sosthenes Kleiser
1882 – 1892 Fr. Michael Groscholz
1892 – 1895 Fr. Herman Nieters
1895 – 1897 Fr. Gerhard Brand
1897 – 1911 Fr. George Koop
1911 – 1933 Fr. Conrad Brockmeier
1933 – 1948 Fr. Michael Schaller
1948 – 1954 Fr. Aloys. J. Marschner
1954 – 1961 Fr. Charles Frey
1961 – 1964 Fr. Charles Hofer
1964 – 1984 Fr. Anthony Bukauskas
1984 – 1998 Fr. Gerald Simpson
1998 – 2016 Fr. Kevin Schmittgens
2016 – 2019 Fr. Donald E. Henke
2019 – Present Fr. Thomas J. Wissler

Sons of the Parish:

Because of our rich and spiritual history, these men who were part of the St. Joseph Neier parish went on to become Priest and gave so much back to the people and communities they served.

Excerpt taken from USGenNet: http://www.usgennet.org

Joseph Schroeder was born at Jeffriesburg in Franklin county, Missouri, on November 13, 1861 (sic). After attending the St. Joseph’s School at Neier, he, in 1874, entered St. Joseph’s College at Teutopolis. On July 22, 1881, “Old Joe” exchanged the college for the novitiate, his investing taking place on July 19th. The novitiate over, he stayed another year to make his humanities followed by two years of philosophy at Quincy, Illinois, and a course of theology at St. Louis, Missouri. At this time his health was so precarious that none but himself expected to reach the high goal of the priesthood. Owing, however, to his courage and joyful disposition, Fr. Hyacinth was ordained by Archbishop P. R. Kenrick at St. Louis on May 6, 1888. His first appointment was to Memphis, Tennessee. After ten years of successful labors he remained five months at St. Louis (December 1, 1899, till about May, 1900), when he was sent to Columbus, Nebraska, to assume charge of St. Joseph’s congregation at Platte Center.

Picture

St. Joseph’s Church, Platte Center, 1924 (pic on the right)

He remained till 1906. From August, 1906, till July 1, 1907, he was the first superior at West Park, Cleveland; then in charge of three missions at Indianapolis (July 5,1907-July 1, 1908); of Union, near Washington, Missouri (July 2, 1908-January, 1914). He next labored at Sioux City; Superior, Wisconsin; Lindsay, in charge of Cornlea (seven months); Sioux City (until October 22, 1927). Fr. Hyacinth was sent to Memphis, Tennessee. Owing to heart trouble he was transferred to Joliet, Illinois, where he passed away November 14, 1929, being found dead in bed, but not without having received the last Sacraments of the church previously.

Fr. Hyacinth, frail and small of stature, was a jovial and amiable confere. His hobby was to make small windmills which he put up everywhere. At Platte Center he gave a windmill to every one who paid his dues. Fr. Hyacinth was a zealous priest of God and a pious religious.–R. I.

Excerpt take from the Corpus Christi Church in Oklahoma : http://corpuschristichurchok.org/church-history

In 1926 some 300 families were on the parish registry at Corpus Christi however less than 100 attending Mass regularly. The carriage house was soon torn down and a two-story combination church and school built with a full basement. The upper part of the new building was used for school in the lower part for church.  At the close of 1925 there is a total debt of $66,000 against Corpus Christi Church while the Sunday collection was about $55.

After a year Father Wilwerding and inexperienced pastor lost heart in his first undertaking of a construction and requested to be moved.  On September 1, 1926 Father John J. Walde was appointed administrator of Corpus Christi Church by Bishop Kelley. The Diocesan drive was underway at the same time and was very successful in the Parish relieving Corpus Christi of some of its debt.  In October 1926 Father John J. Walde was appointed the pastor.

The Corpus Christi Sisters were not a teaching order. However, they opened a school in September 1926 with 91 students and taught until the summer of 1928. After which the Sisters of Corpus Christi House were recalled and disbanded because they have been unable to obtain Papal approval of their community.

The first Novena of Grace in Corpus Christi Church in honor of St. Francis Xavier was March 4 to the 12th of 1927. Around 400 person’s attended. It was conducted for years after.

Bishop Kelley confirmed the first class of 56 on April 17, 1927.

In August 1928 The Sisters of Providence from St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana were brought in to staff Corpus Christi School. There were six sisters with 104 pupils that first year. A few months after their arrival the Corpus Christi PTA was organized. By 1936 Father John J. Walde and his parishioners reduce the debt on Corpus Christi Church from $66,000 to $4,000.

The next problem facing Corpus Christi Church was the fact that there was no possibility of furniture development at the first location. The attendance at Sunday services has increased from an average number of 100 to 800. So in 1936 Bishop Kelley suggested that the Associated Catholic Charities purchase the property of Corpus Christi for a maternity home and that Kelley Park an entire block at 15th and Stonewall was available to the Parish.

On March 1, 1937 the new two-story school building was begun. There were 12 classrooms, a large kitchen and an auditorium that seated 450. On August 7, 1937 Corpus Christi School was officially moved to 15th and Stonewall. Across the street a residence and six lots were purchased for a rectory. There was no convent as yet so the sisters occupied a portion of the new school building.

Money for the new building was nearly all raised with the sale of the old school, the sisters home and the rectory to Associate Catholic Charities, some royalties and through a financial campaign conducted in the month of December 1936.

For eight years the school auditorium was used as a church. In the new school there were 185 pupils in the eight grades with six sisters of Providence as teachers. The dedication of the new school took place on October 17, 1937.

In November 1944 Father John J. Walde and his parishioner saw construction began on their new church with a seating capacity was 500 with another hundred in the choir.

On October 18, 1945 Bishop McGuinness dedicated the new church. Catholic Daughters of America, Knights of Columbus, altar boys and 80 clergy took part in procession. The pontifical High Mass was celebrated by Bishop McGuinness with Rev. John J. Walde, assistant priest; Rev. J. Bernard Loftus, Deacon, and Rev. R.F. Harkin, subdeacon. Deacons of honor were Rev. E. Vader Grinten and Rev. John L. Garvey. Masters of Ceremonies: Rev. C.A. Buswell and Rev. James K. Couhig, CPPS. A stirring sermon was given by Rev. Edward Lodge Curran, Brooklyn, New York, president of the International Catholic Truth Society. Around 650 people witnessed the dedication of the new church.

On December 14, 1947 the new convent was begun. It had 26 rooms including a chapel, community room, two parlors, kitchen, refractory, utility room and basement. It could accommodate 13 sisters, each with a private room. The building was ready for occupancy in August 1948.

On October 27, 1948 the sisters held open house following the blessing of the covent by Bishop McGuinness. At the open house the ladies of the parish gave a sisters a canned food shower: also linens and bedding for their private rooms. There were seven Sisters of Providence to staff the school with 260 pupils.

On December 28, 1948 Father John J. Walde was named a Domestic Prelate (a level of Monsignor).

On March 18,1952 Msgr. Walde moved into the new rectory. A spacious building erected on the south side of the church. It had a suit of rooms for Msgr. Walde and for two assistance, a guest room, housekeeper’s quarters, reception room, three offices, kitchen, and in the basement, a recreation room, storeroom, laundry and furnace room.

On April 15, 1952 Bishop McGuinness bless the new rectory followed by a house warming for the clergy. Five days later on April 20 the rectory was open for parishioners and friends of Msgr. Walde.

Excerpt taken from All Saints Parish in U City:  http://allsaintsucitymo.org

From 1994 until 1998 priests were assigned for very brief periods of time until
Father Donald Molitor arrived.
Enter Bingo – thanks to Art and Meg Wynkoop, the financial transfusion important
to a shrinking parish began.
Father Molitor served on the faculty of Kenrick Seminary. During his tenure the
Archdiocese sponsored St. Louis City and County “cluster” meetings to determine
the sustainability of various parishes. Meetings were held from June 1998 until
March 2000. St. Catherine’s was merged with Christ the King, All saints became a
“mission church” with an “administer”. As our administrator, Fr. Molitor began
preparations for our 100th anniversary.

Excerpt taken from Saint Joseph Parish on Manchester: https://stjoemanchester.org

Associate Pastor & Archdiocesan Director of Missions

Fr. Tim Noelker

The second of three children in a close-knit family, I entered Kenrick-Glennon Seminary after graduating from Saint Francis Borgia Regional High School.  Ordained to the Holy Priesthood in 2010, I truly enjoyed my two years at Sacred Heart Parish in Valley Park before being blessed to go to the missions.  In the seminary, I had expressed openness to the possibility of serving in our archdiocesan Latin America Apostolate in Bolivia, but I never imagined that it would materialize—it did!  Although I loved Sacred Heart, I was excited about heading to South America.  Those five years in Parroquia María Reina (Mary Queen Parish) in La Paz have certainly formed me and shaped me, and I thank the Lord for every day of it!  When asked to return to begin a new role as the director of the Mission Office of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, I was again saddened to leave but excited at the new challenge.  Now I am thrilled to be at St. Joseph in Manchester, working primarily with the Spanish-speaking community, but also being involved at all levels of parish life with the English-speaking community.  Please pray for me and be assured of my prayers for you!

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Important Contact Information

Pastor Father Thomas J Wissler Office: 636-583-2806


Parish Coordinator Sarah Johnson parishoffice@stjosephneier.com Office: 636-583-2806


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