St. Joseph's parish community, celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding in 1980 with a week long celebration September 20-28.
St. Joseph's RC Church, Kitchener, could well be called a monument to its founding pastor, the late Msgr. Reuben M. Haller, who was the first diocesan priest to serve in Kitchener, and in 1959 became the first priest in the city to be made a monsignor while serving the community.
(In 1971 he officially opened the Msgr. R. M. Haller School on Shea Crescent, the first separate school in the Region to be named after a living person. The school was built on property that was originally a part of St. Joseph's parish, which in the 1930's encompassed an area that today includes St. Anne's, St. Aloysius and St. Francis parishes.)
It was during the Depression in September, 1930, that the most Rev. J. T. McNally, D. D., fifth bishop of Hamilton, created the new parish and assigned Father Haller the herculean task of building the church. St. Joseph's was the third Catholic church to be built in Kitchener. The first two were St. Mary's and Sacred Heart.
In the fall of 1930 the construction of a basement church was underway and by Christmas the first mass was offered. Prior to that services were held at St. Joseph's separate school, which was built in 1921. (It wasn't until 1953 that upper structure of church was completed.)
When St. Joseph's was founded in 1930, of the 215 parishioners, 85 heads of families were unemployed. Yet, despite having difficult times, the parishioners pitched in to raise money and donate time and energy to help the infant church.
In 1953 a convent for the School Sisters of Notre Dame was established on Madison Avenue. Due to a decrease in religious vocations, the convent was sold in 1970. Now known as "Madison House", it is used by the Children's Aid Society as a testing and evaluation centre for children in distress (1980).
The School Sisters of Notre Dame taught at St. Joseph's School for many years. They gave invaluable service in caring for the altar and altar linens. Sister Edwardine was the first principal at St. Joseph's separate school.
The Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary taught at St. Bernadette's school. Sister Joachim was its first principal.
"The success of our parish is the family spirit of working together," said Msgr. Haller, who prided himself as "being a working man's priest."
When Msgr. Haller retired in 1968 after serving as pastor for 38 years - longer than any other priest in Kitchener - he turned a debt free parish over to his successor, Rev. L.P. Cullaton, who was pastor until 1975.
Rev. Harold Smith, a former associate pastor, succeeded Father Cullaton and remained until his retirement in 1978.
Rev. Charles Schefter became pastor in 1978 of the parish which now comprises 1,200 families. In the fall of 1978, Rev. Manuel Lourenco, O.H. was assigned to the parish to care for the spiritual welfare of the Portuguese families in the K-W area.
Msgr. Haller continued as pastor emeritus until his death November 11, 1979 at the age of 90.
Our current Pastor (1980), Rev. Charles Schefter, has been pastor of St. Joseph's parish since 1978. He is a native of Guelph. A member of Sacred Heart parish there, he was educated at Sacred Heart Separate School and Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute. He studied for the priesthood at St. Augustine's Seminary, Toronto, and was ordained May 26, 1956, at the Cathedral of Christ the King by Bishop Joseph F. Ryan.
Following his ordination Father Schefter was assistant pastor at St. Andrew's Oakville, St. Basil's Brantford, and St. Lawrence, Blessed Sacrament and St. Eugene Churches, all of Hamilton.
He was then appointed pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church, Carlsruhe, with missions at St. Peters, Ayton and St. Joseph's, Neustadt. Then prior to coming to St. Joseph's Kitchener, he served as pastor for six years at St. Mary's, Elora with a mission at St. Joseph's, Fergus.
In his two years at St. Joseph's parish, renovations have been made in the hall, including a new side entrance to the church and hall, and St. Joseph Parish Advisory Council has been established.
Theme - Family
Holy Mass of Thanksgiving Celebrated by Most Rev. Paul F. Reding, Bishop of Hamilton
Sunday September 28 At 4:00 p.m.
Rev. Michael Myroniuk as Guest Homilist at all the masses the weekend of September 20 and at the 40 Hours Devotion
Saturday, September 20
Family Night in the Parish Hall Dance and Social $1.50 per person, children with adult free.
Sunday, September 21
Opening of 40 Hours
Monday, September 22
10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Adoration ot Blessed Sacrament
7:30 p.m. Mass and Homily
8:00 p.m. C.W.L.. will serve refreshments in the Hall after Mass
Tuesday September 23
10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Adoration of Blessed Sacrament
7:30 p.m. Mass and Homily Renewal of Marriage Vows
8:30 p.m. Wine and Cheese Party Parish Hall
Sunday, September 28
4:00 p.m. - Concelebrated Mass of Thanksgiving with Bishop Paul F. Reding as principal celebrant and Rev. Harold Smith as homilist
5:30 p.m. Social Hour Parish Hall
6:30 p.m. Anniversary Dinner Parish Hall Bishop Reding Guest Speaker
PLEASE NOTE: Dinner tickets are $12.50 per person.
St. Joseph's Parish community celebrates the 60th Anniversary of its founding this year with a two day celebration, October 27th and 28th, 1990. St. Joseph's Parish could well be called a monument to its founding pastor, the late Msgr. Reuben M. Haller, who was the first diocesan priest to serve in Kitchener and in 1959 became the first priest of the city to be made a Monsignor while serving the community.
Another first for the prelate, a native of Cambridge (Preston) was the significant tribute paid to him by the Waterloo County Separate School Board in 1971 when it named the new separate school in recognition of his 'tremendous' service to Catholic education. It was the first school named for a living person by the board. The school was built on property that was originally part of St. Joseph's parish, which in the 1930's encompassed an area that today includes St. Anne's, St. Aloysius, and St. Francis parishes.
St. Joseph's was the third
Catholic church to be built in Kitchener.
The first two were St. Mary's and Sacred Heart.
It was established during the Depression, a time of harsh unemployment and much need.
In September, 1930, the most Rev. J. T. McNally, D.D., fifth bishop of Hamilton, created a new parish and assigned Father Haller the herculean task of building the church.
Undaunted, the jovial priest tackled the task, and his 215 families pitched in to help, even though 85 heads of families were unemployed and eighteen lost their homes.
That unselfish, caring spirit still reigns in the parish families.
Despite having difficult times, the parishioners pitched in to raise money and donate time and energy to help the infant church. In the fall of 1930, the construction of a basement church was underway and by Christmas the first mass was offered. Prior to that, services were held at St. Joseph's separate school, which was built in 1921. (It wasn't until 1953 that the upper structure of the church was completed.)
When Msgr. Haller retired in 1968 after serving as Pastor for 38 years -- longer than any other priest in Kitchener -- he turned a debt free parish over to his successor, Rev. L. P. Cullaton, who was pastor until 1975. 'The success of our parish is the family spirit working together', was the creed of the ecumenically minded Monsignor Haller. His ecumenism enfolded many people of other denominations. All of them, regardless of race or creed, would receive a helping hand. 'God love you' was his blessing after daily mass and in greetings to all. Diversified in his service to the community, he served in military and hospital chaplaincies and in the field of education and health. Although he served his community well, his first concern was always his parish.
An important part of our parish history involves the work of religious sisters. The School Sisters of Notre Dame taught at St. Joseph's School fo many years. The late Sister Edwardine was the first principal at St. Joseph's School. Following her retirement in education, she founded a visitation program to senior citizens and nursing homes. For such humanitarian efforts on behalf o f the community, she was named a "Woman of the Year". Also, playing a prominent role in the formation of students were the Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They taught at St. Bernadette's School for several years. St. Joachim was its first principal.
Monsignor Haller serviced the church for 64 years, 46 years in Kitchener. He retired in 1968 but still served as pastor emeritus until his death at 90, November 11th, 1979. His successor, Father Cullaton, was followed by Rev. Harold Smith, a former associate pastor who remained until his retirement in 1978. Rev. Charles Schefter was pastor between 1978 and 1982. During this time, Father Manuel Lourenco was assigned to the parish to care for the spiritual needs of the Portuguese families of the K-W area. In 1982, Father Leo Sepal was assigned as pastor until 1987 when he was succeeded by Father Don Sanvido, presently stationed at St. Joseph's.
While the life history of our parish is so closely tied to the life of Monsignor Reuben Haller, much good has been done by all the pastors, associates, and religious leaders who have worked with the laity at St. Joseph's Parish.
From its inception, when it was only a basement church, St. Joseph's has had a choir envied by other parishes. As in other things, what success the choir enjoyed was due to its directors.
The earliest organist/directors that come to mind were Clare Massel and Bob Sobisch. Then, in the mid-1930's, the then director, Agnes Fischer, put together a choir which was excellent and featured some marvellous voices. From memory the following are recalled: Frank Mantell, Tom Livingstone, Ann Prust, Scotty Berwick and Ed Eckert.
For a time, after St. Joseph's parish was divided, and new churches sprang up, the choir was decimated in numbers -- three adults accompanied by school children.
Ara Baliozian, a skilled organist, came to St. Joseph's over a decade ago, and can be heard Sundays at early Mass.
A new format in of choir director/organists joined us beginning with Joyce Schnarr from 1980-1986, during which time the choir expanded to fifteen members.
Carol Ditner took over from 1986 - 1989, and still is available to us during vacation periods.
Currently, our director is Karen Kunda, who attended grade school at St. Joseph's, and whose father was Frank Mantell, a choir member in the thirties.
Today, the choir consists of: Lorne Anthony, Gloria Cormier, Cecile Hummel, Herb Altman, Theresa Sullivan, Oscar Cormier, Mary Pappert, Marjorie Bisch, Marj Cochrane, Mel Anthony, Vi Altman, Mary Ferguson, Katie Ritz, Matt Pappert, Annettte Stanley, Mike Devereaux, Rita Leagault, Julie Legault, Bill Pearce, Denise Simpson and Marie Halter. Fondly remembered is John Divo, another member, who passed away a short time ago.
If enthusiasm, good-will, co-operation and enjoyment are a measure of success, then today's choir has achieved that goal.