the herald ■ Friday, december 7, 2012 this brick church, which stood from 1841 to 1927, was built under the leadership of Fr. Kundek and was 100 feet long and 54 feet wide. It was located just to the west of the current church. the pillars that extend from the floor to the ceiling are the same as in 1880, poplar trees covered with sandstone veneer. Construction on the current church, which sits east of the old church, started in 1867 under the leadership of Father Fidelis Maute, OSB, and was completed in 1880. the bell tower was completed in 1904 under the direction of Father Basil heusler, OSB. received into the Catholic Diocese of Vincennes and sent to Jasper because the French-speaking missionary priest serving the German families in Jasper at the time, Father Mau- rice de St. Palis, could not speak German. Fr. Kundek purchased the church’s land in 1939 and the first church built was a small log cabin. Within three years the congregation had grown to 100 families, outgrowing the cabin. Work on a new brick church be- gan in 1840, using the labor and donations of its parishioners, and was completed the following year. “They didn’t have a lot them- selves, but they gave what they had,” Krempp said. “The area was covered with trees, so they had to cut those down. They made their own brick and built the building.” Fr. Kundek kept recruiting pa- rishioners, including a group of 11 families that left their homes in Pfaffenweiler, Germany, in 1847 to reach Jasper by boat. “They faced a storm on the At- lantic to get here. They said that if they made it, they would erect a cross near the church,” Krempp said. “They did — and built the cross that’s on the south side of the church. It’s still there.” By 1844, 232 families belonged to the parish. Construction on the current church, which is west of the old church, started in 1867 under the leadership of Father Fidelis Maute, OSB, and was completed in 1880. The bell tower was com- pleted in 1904 under the direction of Father Basil Heusler, OSB, who also oversaw the installation of the altars, mosaics, stained glass windows and the first organ. The three statues on the church lawn are of Frs. Kundek, Maute and Heusler. And the church neighborhood contains city streets named after each of the three men. In 1929, St. Jo- seph’s School was built; by 1937, 800 children were enrolled. The building was renovated in 2002 into the parish activities center. St. Joseph Church has re- ceived some upgrades over the years, but the structure itself is the same. The pillars that extend from the floor to the ceiling are the same as in 1880, Krempp said — poplar trees covered with sandstone veneer. “They used to be covered with plaster, but that started cracking,” he said. “So they stripped that away and recovered them.” That work hap- pened in 1954. The congregation kept grow- ing. When it reached 5,000 mem- bers in 1947, a second church, Holy Family Catholic Church, was constructed and opened in 1948. When the numbers reached that again, Precious Blood Catholic Church was created in 1954, and its church was opened in 1957. “St. Joseph is often called the Mutterkirche — German for the mother church — of the Catholic churches in Jasper,” Fr. Brenner said. The parish of 1,800 families remains a strong, dedicated community. “There’s a strong Catholic background here,” Fr. Brenner said. “If you come out here at a St. Joseph Catholic Church has hosted numerous religious celebrations over the yeras, including this First Communion ceremony in the early 1950s. the parish, which was founded n 1837 by Father Joseph Kundek, is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year. photos courtesy st. joseph catholic church page 4 ■ local & state Church (Concluded from Page One) Kundek quarter to 8 in the morning, it’s not unusual to see 100, 125 people here for the morning mass.” Parish members celebrated the anniversary throughout the fall, culminating with a church service Saturday with Bishop Charles Thompson, leader of the Catholic Diocese of Evansville. “Many parishioners are relat- ed somehow to those immigrants who came over from Germany,” Krempp said. “It’s their descen- dants who are here and have their families here.” contact candy Neal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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