Mission of St. Joseph Parish
Reaching into ourselves to share our God-given gifts within our church community.
Reaching out with care and compassion to our fellow parishioners as well as the needs within our community and beyond.
Reaching God through worship, sacraments, prayer and spiritual growth.
Reaching into ourselves to share our God-given gifts within our church community.
Reaching out with care and compassion to our fellow parishioners as well as the needs within our community and beyond.
Reaching God through worship, sacraments, prayer and spiritual growth.
Bernard & Mary Stern Family
r family moved to Appleton in 1981 and it was then that we found St. Joseph’s Parish and have called it our “spiritual” home ever since where we could grow in our faith with the help of the Capuchin’s who are serving this parish. Through the years we have found St. Joseph’s Parish to have some beautiful and needed ministries that we could be involved in such as helping the poor and the homeless, the Prayer Shawl Ministry for those who need the comfort of warmth and prayers from our hand knitted and crocheted shawls and also providing the service of funeral lunches for family and friends who are grieving over the loss of a loved one. It is through this contact here at St. Joseph’s Parish that has helped us come to know our God more and grow in our faith. My desire is to help St. Joseph’s Parish to continue to grow and help others in their grow in their faith. Bernard and Mary Stern
Langman/Filz Family Story
My St. Joseph family story begins in the 1920’s with my maternal grandparents, Charles and Mary Langman. Their oldest daughter, my mom, Doris Langman, was a life-long member of St. Joseph Parish. Mom attended the original St. Joseph School and was the captain of the 1939 8th grade girls basketball team. My dad, Marvin “Phat” Filz became a member upon marrying mom right here at St. Joe’s in 1947. Seventy years later, they celebrated their milestone wedding anniversary in the church they held so dear, just six months before they both passed away. Throughout this time span, the warmth, support and love our family received from the St. Joe’s congregation will forever be etched in our memories. [The pictures attached are from that special June 2017 Mass with Fr. Jim.] (not included) Both my sister, Debbie and I attended the “new” St. Joseph School. It is there that I met my future husband, Tom Thiel, in the first grade. Because St. Joseph Parish has been a part of my family history for generations, I cannot possibly imagine belonging anywhere else. This beautiful, holy place and people is home for us. St. Joe’s always has been and always will continue to be an integral, central, and important part of our lives!
Becky Filz Thiel
Julie Lillge Family
My bond with St. Joseph's Parish began when my great great grandparents immigrated to Appleton in the late 1860's. Five generations of my family have been active members here, have been ministered to through baptisms, weddings and funerals, our faith nourished here and a great education was provided here at St. Joseph's. I am currently involved in Mass Ministries, serve on the Welcoming Committee and the one by One Campaign. My love for this parish is truly immense and I want to ensure the ministries of St. Joseph's continues, that it grows, thrives, serves and nourishes the faith of our community, many more families and generations to come. May God always bless St. Joseph's Parish and its families,
My St. Joseph Story – Mary Schulz
In June 2006 I registered as an active member of St. Joe before all the moving boxes had been unpacked. I chose St. Joe’s to practice my faith because of the Capuchin Franciscan Hospitality I felt it while attending a marriage ceremony and the celebration of several Masses prior to moving to Appleton where my son and family live.
St. Joe’s is a very warm, welcoming, and active faith filled community. It is special to me because of the way St. Joe lives out Jesus challenge to love and care for those in need in our families, the community and world around us through its support of St. Joseph Food Pantry; Pillars (Warming Shelter); LEAVEN, Xavier Schools; St. Joseph Twinning Parish; LEAVEN; Habitat Build; several half-way houses and many more.
Since becoming a St. Joe parishioner, the sense of community and the wonderful extended family I’ve come to know while attending Weekly Mass – watching families grow and pray together; volunteering for the: Fall Festival, breakfasts, CRHP, Care Ministry, Lector, etc.; or attending many of the Faith Development opportunities offered to me on a regular basis.
I’m willing to do my part to help assure the St. Joseph Faith Community remains active and welcoming to all, and has the resources to reach out to those searching for meaning in their lives for generations to come.
Richard & Sue Gallagher Family
Our family has been Parishioners of St Joseph's since 1998. On our first day here, Fr. David introduced himself to us and when we went up for Communion, he remembered our names - we knew right then we were welcome at St Joe's and would be here for a long time to come. It has been a wonderful place to raise our family. In 2006, Sue's Parents and Brother moved to Wisconsin and became members of St Joseph's, also.
We serve St Joe’s in the Mass Ministries, IPRF, Twinning & one by One Campaign. We would love for St. Joseph's to continue to raise our family as we are just starting to grow! Richard & Sue Gallagher
The Michael & Elaine Flood Family
We joined St. Joe's fifteen years ago (June 2004). We relocated from New Jersey and were briefly staying at the Paper Valley Hotel waiting to close on our house. We had four young children (the oldest was six years old). Having always been attracted to Franciscan spirituality, we were excited to learn a Capuchin Franciscan parish was next door to the hotel (and more excited to learn they had a crying room!)
After moving to our home on the north side of Appleton, we found ourselves returning downtown to St. Joe's, despite other parishes being closer to our home. Being from the east coast, we assumed we needed to formally join the parish closest to our home. Eventually we went to formally join the nearby parish. The parish secretary asked why we were joining their parish and we responded "well, we really like St. Joe's, but we don't live in St. Joe's boundaries". She responded: "Just because you don't live in St. Joe's parish boundaries, you can still formally register at St. Joe's." So we did.
We went to St. Joe's parish secretary and asked to formally join the parish. While doing the paperwork, she casually asked: "What nationality is the last name Flood?"
We told her it was Irish. In fact, we told her, both my wife and I were both 100% Irish-American. She suddenly looked up from the paperwork and with complete sincerity said, "Oh my, you might be joining the wrong parish. St. Mary's is the Irish parish." We assured her it was ok and have never regretted joining "the wrong parish"!
It certainly didn't hurt when " a member of the tribe" (Fr. Jim Leary) became pastor several years later! Elaine and Michael Flood Family
The Joel and Dawn Beighley Family
My story of St. Joe’s starts about 5 years ago when I attended a weekday Mass. As soon as I walked into the church I felt comfortable and the next thing that I saw was the visitor envelopes on the back of the pews that say “You are always welcome at St. Joe’s” and then I knew that I was home! My husband and I even renewed our wedding vows at St. Joe’s! It is that “welcoming” feeling that inspired me to want to do more as a parishioner of St. Joe’s and when I was asked to be a Catechist for the IPRF program, I accepted eagerly.
Born and raised in the Northeast my husband and I do not have any family here with us but as members of St. Joe’s we feel blessed with a strong faith community and with opportunities to help St. Joe’s continue to welcome others. Joel & Dawn Beighley
The Jim & Traci Shefka Family
In 1946 my Dad moved here from the UP in search of work, with just the clothes on his back, sleeping on kind stranger’s couches. He sought a place of faith where he could spend his alone time, a refuge, it became St. Joe's. He met my mom and as the tradition was at the time you attended a church close to your home so we attended a different Appleton parish while all of us Shefka's grew up. How this intersects with my story.
I met my wife almost 25 years ago and her family have been members of St. Joe's Parish for over 100 years. St. Joe's then became mine. I can’t imagine being a member of any other local parish. Since the beginning, it is the Capuchin leadership and humility that leads with all things. It is better to serve than to be served, St. Joe's is the definition of service and what faith with action can bring.
Most importantly simple things:
When my mother started showing the signs of Alzheimer's both my Mom and Dad joined our small branch of the family at the 4 PM mass on Saturdays so we could help them out, bringing my Dad back to St. Joes, his original refuge when he was completely alone as a 17 year old far from home. The way we distribute communion. For those who have Alzheimer's in their lives, this little thing can be the difference between a scene or quiet dignity, that the body and blood are brought to those who are less mobile in the back of the church is more important than it appears on the surface. The difference between celebrating with a parish or staying home because you are unsure how the one you love and care for will act out in front of hundreds of people.
My Mother’s struggle with Alzheimer's ended and my Dad continued to join us at church each week until he passed. Before that time, my father officially changed his place of worship from the traditional way it has been done where the parish you “belong” to is in proximity to his home, to the parish where his heart felt at home.
Service, openness, and emphasis Jesus’ intent and example with our Catholic faith sets St. Joe's apart. Jim Shefka
The Kathy & Craig Jungwirth Family
My wife started going to St. Joe’s when she moved to Appleton in 1970. It was close to her apartment on Appleton Street. We were married here in 1974 by Father Don Brodie.
We like St. Joe’s because of the welcoming feeling. The Capuchin minsters, all of them have been good shepherds. They personify the works of Jesus by supporting and in most cases by founding, the Food Pantry, LEAVEN, the Warming Shelter and other Christian works.
One special memory I have is: when Father Roger Zach made a visit to our home. He wanted to go to every parishioners’, I don’t know if he made it, but he came to our house. There is lots of history at St. Joe’s. It is the only church I know of that has painted Stations of the Cross. Craig Jungwirth
Another Anonymous Story from a 70 year old
I have not joined yet. Everyone singing, praying and participating make me choose to practice my faith here. St. Joseph Parish is friendly, inclusive and healthy. Those are the reasons I come to St. Joseph Parish.
The Rick & Caren Rohde Family
We love Fr. Jim, his Masses and Confessions.
We love the way we sing Alleluia during Mass.
We feel loved!!
We feel Welcome!! Rick & Caren Rohde
The Jeff & Penny Bernards’ Family
We moved from Madison, Wisconsin where we belonged to St. Dennis which was hard to leave for my job. I moved ahead of my family and spent time going to different churches from Neenah to Appleton looking for a parish that I felt I belonged. A coworker recommended St. Joseph. The first time I went to St. Joseph I sat behind a group of ladies that had nothing but praise regarding the church and priests. I thought the crying room up front was great, not in the back where you do not feel part of the mass. My family moved and we visited more churches so they could see the differences and on my third visit made the decision to join St. Joseph. We love the light interior versus dark gloomy churches. We loved the banter between priests, Father Ken and Father Holly and then Father Larry and now Father Jim’s jokes. We love the Christmas play which Ali was a part of starting in 4th grade. She was also in the children’s choir. Not all churches are as kid friendly. We think the charitable organizations that St. Joseph started and/or support show how much the community is valued. My parents question why we travel from Neenah to go to church in Appleton but it is where we belong. Jeff and Penny Bernards
The Paul & Susan Lutz Family
During the years we dated, Paul and I would go to mass at St. Joseph Church. We were excited to join as members and plan our wedding ceremony here because we liked it very much and felt at home. The Rev. Gerald Pehler officiated our marriage in October of 1989. We eventually moved to Menasha and became members of the Parish where our daughter attended the Parochial schools.
It had been some years since her graduation when Paul and I made the sincere decision to rejoin St. Joseph Parish in July of 2017. It was our special place of marriage and still close to our hearts. Also, we both felt a need for spiritual enrichment - St. Joe’s has truly helped us grow in our faith. We are happy to be part of this Parish family and feel grateful and blessed to have Father Jim Leary, Deacon Mark Farrell, Deacon C.F. Dedman and the Pastoral staff who serve and lead us.
St. Joe’s personality is inviting! This is a Special Parish to me because my Dad was Baptized here, and this past summer our daughter Stephanie and her fiancé Kyle joined as new members. We look forward to their wedding ceremony next Fall, here, where we also celebrated ours. We both agree our favorite memory so far is our wedding ceremony and Rev. Gerald Pehler sharing with us that we were his first couple he officiated a wedding ceremony for at St. Joseph Church.
Paul (age 59 yrs.) and Susan (age 55 yrs.) Lutz
The Jean Spilker Family
There have been Spilker parishioners here at St. Joseph Church since the 1870s when my husband, Jerry’s grandfather Alois Spilker came with his brother Frank. They were in the early twenties and came from Lugde, Westphalia, Germany. When my husband retired, we moved back to Appleton. At that time I told Jerry if he wished to join St. Joe’s it was okay with me — I would follow. My ancestry is Irish and we knew of the early history in Appleton of the German/Irish relationships. The Capuchin priests have always been special and the parish is friendly. I’m happy and grateful to be here. And thanks for reading my historical account.
Jean Spilker - 81 yrs. old
Bonnie Thomas Family
Actually, I am not technically a member of St. Joe's, but in my heart, I am. When I visited my dad's cousin, I would sometimes attend St. Mary's on State Street. A few years ago, she said to me, “Why don't you try St. Joe's?” So, I did.
Father Jim Leary, is the reason that I chose to practice my faith here. He is great, and his homilies are the greatest! Everyone loves him, and he packs the church.
I would describe the personality of St. Joe's, as warm, welcoming and inviting.
There is so much that is special, before I even enter the door – the beauty of the flowers, the architecture of the church (with St. Joe's steeple, over-towering the 82-foot spire, of the Fox Cities Expedition Center), and St. Francis, the Patron Saint of Animals. Now, there is The Holy Family, and a stone, etched with a quote from Mother Teresa, “If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.''
Upon entering, I am greeted by kind faces and welcoming voices. Then, there is the holy water fountain, the Baptismal Font; the ornate stained glass windows; the altar, with Jesus on the Cross; The Holy Tabernacle; and Mary, with lit candles, just beyond. During May and October, people are praying The Rosary, in unison, with Father Jim.
A walk in the Blessed Father Solanus Casey Prayer Garden, offers peace and tranquility, with ever-changing beauty, to capture photos of.
The music is astounding, with the choir, instruments and church members singing, praising God.
Following Mass, there is a social, with cookies and beverages, offering an opportunity, for people to meet, and talk.
There are so many favorite memories, about St. Joe's – the humor in Father Jim's homilies – also, the moment, when he raises the host and chalice; receiving The Holy Eucharist; Jesus, in the manger, at Christmas; The Holy Triduum; The Easter Vigil; the stillness of church. The baptisms, with Father Jim, anointing the babies' heads with oil, and gently pouring water over them; the First Communions and Confirmations; the cute kids at the altar, and those receiving a blessing, from Father Jim; the altar servers and readers; occasional glimpses of brides and grooms; the Fall Festival; Carrol, and other friends I have met; Father Jim, in a Halloween mask, wearing a Western hat – another time, guarding the parking lot, during Mile of Music – all are visual memories.
My Right to Life Rose, from St. Joe’s, is 24 weeks, this October 26 – 25 weeks, on November 2. It is symbolic of life, with water, and nourished with love – reminding us, of our right to life, and our Catholic faith.
St. Joe's, is a church with community – living God's word, of loving one another. Thank you.
God bless, Bonnie Jean Catherine Thomas Age: Old enough, to be a mom, and a grandma
The Bob Nowak Family
1) How long have you been a member of St. Joe’s Parish?
88 years...Baptized here in 1931 and went to school here for nine years.
2) What is it about St. Joe’s that made you choose to practice your faith here?
The priests, CYO sports, activities
3) How would you describe the “personality” of St. Joe’s?
People are very friendly...couldn't be better. Good priests
4) What makes St. Joe’s special to you?
The education I received, the priests and sisters and the activities.
5) What is your favorite memory about St. Joe’s?
The old hall, 2 bowling alleys and the basket ball teams.
Bob Nowak 88 years old
The Sr. Pia Bautista, rc Family
(Religions of the Cenacle)
I came to Appleton after eight years in Madison as Director of Pastoral Care/ Chaplain at St. Mary’s Skills Care and Rehab—Part of St. Mary’s Hospital.
I am a 61 year old Cenacle Sister, originally from the Philippines. I dropped graduate school to come to the United States. I had just turned 21 and entered the convent, God conked me on the head “as He struck
St. Paul from his horse!)
Since the late 70s, our congregation allows us at age 65 to live where we have family, if we so wish. I have family in Appleton. I belong to our Chicago Cenacle. The Cenacle’s website: cenaclesisters.org.
I love Wisconsin, Appleton and St. Joe’s - God’s gift to me. I live at Riverwalk Place at Eagle Flats. We are 70 low income seniors (only 10 men), in a HUD subsidized low income seniors’ apartment buildings (after Washington Place downtown was demolished in 2012).
My Cenacle Provincial comes yearly to see if I need anything, etc. A grateful heart is a happy heart! Our work as Cenacle Sisters is to give retreats, both to groups and individuals and ongoing individual spiritual direction in the Ignatian tradition. Beautiful life-work of awakening and deepening of faith those we serve in our own Cenacle Retreat Houses. We had a Cenacle Retreat House in Milwaukee which closed in 1975. Now I do our Cenacle Ministry by phone/email — “19th A notation Rt.”
1) How long have you been a member of St. Joe’s Parish? 12 years
2) What is it about St. Joe’s that made you choose to practice your faith here? Three of us walked 8 blocks
to Sunday Mass from Washington Place. Fr. Jim is kind and we continue to come.
3) How would you describe the “personality” of St. Joe’s? Like a family, enthusiastic, generous, faithful
4) What makes St. Joe’s special to you? Very Franciscan spirit - I feel “fed” spiritually.
5) What is your favorite memory about St. Joe’s? The 150th Anniversary celebrations. Sr. Pia Bautista, rc, 82 yrs. Old
The Bruce & Clare DuMontier Family
Bruce and I grew up in Missouri. We and our 2 sons, Ben and Clark, moved here for Bruce’s new job. We joined St. Joe’s due to the welcoming nature of the priests and parishioners. Also, Clark was attending St. Joseph Middle School and some of his friends attended St. Joe’s. We felt especially welcome by Deacon C.F. Dedman, who greeted us by name.
Fr. Jim and the other Capuchin priests who serve St. Joseph’s, and the beauty and history of St. Joseph Church, make this parish very special. We believe that all the social justice programs started by this parish such as St. Joseph Food Pantry, Leaven, the Warming Shelter, etc., continue the ministry of Jesus. The music is wonderful, too.
Our favorite memories are singing in the choir, playing in the chime bell choir, participating in the Christ Renews His Parish and Alpha programs, the welcoming committee. Clare and Bruce DuMontier
The Tom & Cindy Dechant Family
My husband Tom and I and our three children, Shea, Isaac and Anthony have called St. Joe’s our parish home for the past twelve years. Father Ji has been our guide and sunshine throughout the years. He has helped our family mover through challenges and has made it a priority to engage in the lives of our children. Father Jim regularly attend s their basketball and football games and offers prayers for their safety and performance. Our family feels blessed to know Father Jim and we always fee welcome by all the parish members at St. Joe’s. Thank you Jesus for the gift of St. Joe’s and for the strength and hope the parish continues to offer our family. Cindy Dechant 51 years old
The Bernie & Helen Schoettler Family
We live in Freedom where there is a great Catholic Church and the people are the greatest. We belong to St. Joe’s since Bernie’s roots are deep at St. Joe’s, He is a life time member and went to St. Joe’s School for nine years. He made sure his mom got to St. Joe’s Church when she was unable to drive.
When I first met Bernie’s mom, her first request was that I should pray for Solanus Casey to become a saint. Never hearing of Solanus Casey I couldn’t imagine anyone from Appleton becoming a saint.
One of my greatest memories was an Easter Sunday when there were so many people in church, Father John Holly told me ”Happy Easter Helen.” How could he know my name when there were so many people?
Bernie is always excited to see his St. Joe’s classmates attending Mass and we both enjoy all the great St Joe’s people. Helen & Bernie Schoettler
The Bernadette (Bernie) Fisher Family
I am a third generation, life-long member of St. Joseph. My parents, Peter and Elizabeth Lamensky, and grandparents, Chris and Elizabeth Dresang, were also members at St. Joseph. I attended St. Joseph school through the 9th grade and graduated from Appleton West High School. Joseph Fisher and I married in 1946 and were the parents of four children. My wedding at St. Joe is my fondest memory.
During my time at St. Joe, I’ve been active on the Senior Committee, in Christian Mothers, and CYO. After working as an occasional volunteer in the school cafeteria, where the meals were prepared from scratch, I accepted a full-time job and worked there for 10 years.
I enjoy the friendliness at St. Joe; everyone is willing to talk with you, mingle. St. Joe is the best! Bernadette Fisher, 92 years old
The Richard Morales Family
My name is Richard Morales. I was asked to write a letter to St. Joe’s Church. These are my thoughts and what I see every time I attend St. Joe’s Church. I have been attending St Joe’s for the past 2 years with my new wife formerly Cindy Nygard. What can I say in my 2 years is that I am very happy here! I like coming every Sunday with my wife.
I use to attend another church in the area and all I can say is that this one beats them all! Now why is that? That is because of the leadership. That leadership I have come to recognize is from Father Jim. I know that because of my background and experiences in being around several leaders most of my life, constantly over 35 years of it - the military. I have seen good and poor. The only way to have a good turn - out is by “excellent leadership. And because of excellent leadership, you have good outcomes. The same people that attend church become like a family over time and contagious.
I look forward to seeing Father Jim every Sunday. I enjoy listening to his jokes before the start of the sermon. I do realize this is to make everyone comfortable. I also recognize that his leadership below him does a wonderful job with the singing from the chorus. Excellent!
I also want to thank the ushers, and auxiliary staff and volunteer workers that also make a difference. Everything throughout the mass is very orderly and seems to flow smoothly every Sunday at the 10:00 o’clock mass, a very large responsibility on Father Jim.
I do want to point out a special sermon that Father Jim preached that I am very happy that he talked about. That sermon he preached was about “Persistence”. “If you really want to accomplish something in your life you have to be persistent at it”. If you are not persistent at something you will not attain it”. (That is what I have understood what he was trying to say or what I interpreted him to say).
This is a church, which is a community, which is a family, and only because of the leadership that Father Jim bestows. Thank you Father Jim, you should be recognized by the community. You have contributed so much. Richard Morales
The Mary Jo Stoeger Family
As the story goes, my grandfather’s family had him in line to become a Lutheran Minister. That is, until he met my grandmother! Elmer and Mae Brown were lifelong members of St. Joseph Parish. She was a faithful member of Christian Mothers. I attended many of the 5:30 and 6:45 a.m. Masses with them.
My parents Robert and Mary Ann Stoeger were married here at St. Joe’s and my brother Rick and I both attended St. Joseph Grade School. Dad ushered here and volunteered at St. Joe’s Food Pantry for many years after he retired from the Appleton Fire Department. Every night during Lent we knelt and prayed the Rosary. My cousin, Karen (Brown) deYoung, taught at St. Joseph Grade School. I played coronet in band and my brother played drums. I recently celebrated 50 years with the 8th grade graduates of St. Joe’s. Jones’ Park skating rink and careening down the hill in cardboard boxes were winter favorites.
St. Joseph Church has long been a source of celebrating both in born to life and born to eternal life. Tears of joy along with tears of grief and always knowing we were in the presence of God. Weekly Mass has been a very important part of my life and I have always felt welcome coming through the doors.
The photo is of our mom Mary Ann Stoeger, in assisted living; my brother Rick, who lives with his family in Kaukauna; and myself from Appleton! Mary Jo Stoeger
The Ginny (Groeschel) Wenkman Family
My grandparents came from Germany and when they arrived in Appleton, they joined St. Joseph Parish. Once my parents met and married they carried on the tradition of being members of St. Joseph’s Parish. My parents had nine children and for those of us who were of school age, including myself, we attended St. Joe’s Elementary School in Appleton and I had my eighth grade graduation in the year 1963.
One thing I remember well is how friendly the Capuchins were at St. Joe’s. Father Edmund would always walk around with candy in his hood and passed it out to all the children that walked by him.
When I was a senior in High School my father was transferred to Green Bay for work, so we all had to move there. I moved back to the Fox Cities once I was married and we tried several parishes to see what felt right for raising our children. Soon after my brother became a Capuchin brother, and I remember being so proud of him. Eventually, I found my way back to St. Joseph’s Parish because I knew in my heart that is where I belong.
My husband passed away four years ago, and Father Jim was so helpful and supportive through the whole thing. Many of the Capuchins attended his funeral, and it made me feel so proud to be a part of St. Joseph’s Parish. Ginny Wenkman (Groeschel)
The Lee & Michelle Griesbach Story
Our family story of St. Joe's starts with Michelle’s family. Michelle is the 4th generation at St Joe's and remembers attending mass with her Great Grandmother. Lee was a member at St. Gabriel Parish in Neenah, yet was connected to St Joe's through the young adult group started by Carol Jensen. It was through the young adult group that we met at one of the group events. These events were typically quite popular and well attended. However, that particular event that year, it was just the two of us. After a year of dating, we decided to get married - which happened at St Joe's in September 2001.
St Joe's is special to us because of the welcoming atmosphere and the family-like community. This loving warmth is what makes this “home” to us. We need to occasionally attend mass elsewhere, which makes realize how special St Joe's is to us. We are not just members who attend mass, but rather part of something greater - a parish family. As we have raised our family in the church, there are many parish members who have commented on the change and growth of our children because they have experienced that growth with us. They know and care about us as part of our faith family. Lee & Michelle Griesbach, Kaukauna
The Ann Kneip Mewshaw Family
1) How long have you been a member of St. Joseph Parish? 23 years
2) What is it about St. Joe’s that made you choose to practice your faith here? My Grandmother, Mrs. Max Gehrman started our family at St. Joe’s and was a member of the Christian Mothers Society. She died in 1934 and her funeral was at St. Joe’s . So – my mother, father & nine children went to the school and church. (see picture of 4 sisters in same pew Mother used to use).
3) How would you describe the “personality” of St. Joe’s? Warm, friendly, history of my family
4) What makes St. Joe’s special to you? The fact that my family has been going here for more than 86 years!
5) What is your favorite memory about St. Joe’s? My favorite memory is how helpful the Nuns, Brothers & Priests have been throughout the year to shape my family and give us good character. “The Family that Prays Together, Stays Together.”
Ann Kneip Mewshaw, age 72
The Tottie Oudenhoven Story
I was born in 1935, the daughter of Robert and Mary (Plank) Rechner. Being of German heritage my parents, 3 surviving grandparents , 5 great grandparents, a plethora of aunts, uncles, cousins and last but not least by five brothers were all members of St. Joseph Parish
After being baptized I began my faith journey by attending church and school at St. Joseph Parish. We were taught by the School Sisters of Notre Dame and the special Capuchin friars who were an everyday presence in our lives. They came to our classrooms two times a week to teach us religion and when it was report card time we nervously awaited their arrival to personally hand each of us the results of all our hard work. All classes went to daily Mass and 9:15 am children’s Mass on Sunday, no questions asked. Life was simple in the 1940’s. We walked everywhere and often we would stop in church make a “visit” and refill our little plastic holy water bottles.
In those days there may have been as many as 4 or 5 priests and 2 brothers living in community at the friary. When I was very young and met some of the older priests who wore long white beards I thought they were Santa’s helpers wearing brown robes and sandals. The Capuchin friars were kind and generous. It wasn’t uncommon to see a “Knight of the road” being fed at the friary kitchen door. It was evident that they always cared for those less fortunate. Long before “The St. Joseph Food Program” was founded and put into operation I remember bagging groceries from a stash in the basement of the friary and giving them to those who were down on their luck.
As the years went on the caring spirit of the Capuchins brought LEAVEN, the Warming Shelter, involvement with Habitat for Humanity along with St. Joseph Food Program and with the added help of the community, to become the successful organizations that they are today.
My husband, Tom and I were married at St. Joe’s in 1955. Coincidentally he and his family were also life long members of St. Joe’s. Tom was a compulsive volunteer and he was happiest when he had a project to keep him busy, most often at St. Joe’s.
We have two daughters, Beth and Jane. Beth is married and lives in Schofield. Jane and her husband, Steve are still members of the parish and are very involved.
As the old saying goes “nothing is as certain as change.” The old buildings that were part of my childhood were eventually demolished in the early 1950’s to make way for a new state of the art grade school.
Sadly, today that building and the Sister’s convent are now history. There is no stopping progress. The physical appearance of St. Joseph’s property has changed and even the interior of the church. But one thing that has never wavered in my 84 years of worshiping at St. Joseph Parish, even during difficult times, is the strength, compassion, faith, hope and love of it’s parishioners and the gentle guidance of our pastors and their assistants, especially Fr. Jim.
St. Joseph Parish has always been a success because the members and their “shepherds” have always gone the extra mile and quoting Father Jim, “and them some.”
Thanks you, St. Joe’s. I am grateful for you. Tottie Oudenhoven
Ron & Karin Posdal
Ron and I formally joined St. Joe's Parish around 1994. We had been members of another Appleton parish that did not provide the spiritual nourishment we needed. We found in St. Joe's the home we were looking for spiritually and emotionally. We found it to be warm, welcoming and diverse. That was important to us -- a spiritual home for all.
St. Joe's Franciscan spirit was and is prevalent in all it does. Helping others is ongoing at St. Joe's through the Food Pantry, Leaven, Habitat for Humanity, and the Warming Shelter. There are many volunteer opportunities for parishioners to partake in.
Ron and I both sing in the choir and I am Eucharistic minister.
We hope and pray that the Capuchins will remain here for years to come. Ron and Karin Posdal
Joe & Kathy Helf Family
Joe and I were married at St. Joe’s Church 8 years ago. I was a member and Joe belonged to another parish. The deal was that we would find a parish that we both liked and make that our home. We found that there is no other parish like St. Joe’s and never left! The warmth and friendliness of the congregation and staff is a blessing. The gentle kindness and compassion of the Capuchin Order makes our church so special. We have personally witnessed the prayers and support provided parishioners who are going through difficult times. The ongoing support we provide to local agencies such as Leaven, the Food Pantry and the Warming Shelter is phenomenal as are the educational programs provided to our parishioners. We are involved in several ministries including Mass Ministries, the Blood Drives and the Grant Committee. We are so proud to be a member of the St. Joe’s Parish family. Our prayer is that St. Joe’s will still be here years from now continuing to support our families and community. Joe and Kathy Helf
THE RANKIN /SCHREIBER / FLOODSTRAND /HARTMAN STORY
My family came to St. Joe’s in the early 1920’s. There has been four generation of my family at St Joe’s. My Great Uncle past away but the parish he belonged to would not bury him because he did not pay pew fees. My Great Grandparents came over to St Joe’s and the pastor said he would bury their son. My grandparents, my parents and I all were married here. My father turned Catholic before marrying my mom.
I am Eucharistic Minister, Sacristan and Coordinator at the Saturday 4:00 Mass. My Husband, who turned Catholic, is now a member of the RCIA team. My Husband also made cookies for the social after the 4:00 mass and also was involved in the Fall Festival Committee until his health became worse. My hope is that St Joes is here for many generations serving our community through St Joseph Food Pantry, LEAVEN, The Warming Shelter and Habitat for Humanity. One of my other hopes is that our religious education continues to grow and show the children of the future generations our faith and helps them grow in their own faith. Carol & Ken Hartman
Tim and Sue Pauly Family
My husband Tim and I transferred to St. Joe’s just about a month ago! It all began when, being away on weekends, we started looking for a Sunday night mass. Little did we realize that these masses would lead to a strong desire to be part of the community of St. Joe’s.
Here are just a few things we notice and truly appreciate about St. Joe’s:
1) The culture reflects the core values of the Franciscan Capuchins, i.e., Father Jim: We found we wanted to be more like the people of St. Joe’s! The culture reflects a deep compassion and empathy for the poor, a humble nature, humor, and living more simply – all areas that we want to grow in.
2) The joyful atmosphere: Right from the beginning, we noticed the ‘celebratory’ air at mass! People are smiling and chatting and happy to see and welcome those around them. We also noticed everyone around us singing to their hearts content!
3) All are welcome: Even when we were not official members of the parish, we were always made to feel welcome by both staff and fellow parishioners. Feeling a little guilty for attending so often (while still sponsoring another parish), I finally asked if I might volunteer a few hours a week! Before long, I knew everyone on staff and looked forward to working with this kind and lighthearted group!
4) The diversity of people: If you’ve ever glanced up at the communion line, you will see people representing every walk of life. You might see a veteran, young adults with tattoos, pink-haired college kids, babies, moms, elderly and the infirm - all on the same journey. This is St. Joe’s, it’s not a church for the ‘elite’ or parish ‘insiders’. They truly live the motto ‘You are always welcome at St. Joseph's Parish’.
5) A truly holy atmosphere: One final thing that we especially appreciate about St. Joe’s is that the doors of the church are often OPEN - even when there’s no mass. Visiting the church during a weekday is such a blessing with the candles flickering in silence, the lingering incense, and the light streaming in. As I make an occasional visit to the church on a week day, I find myself taking in a deep breath and thinking “I’m home”.
Our prayer is that others (especially the young) will visit St. Joe’s and feel the same desire to be part of this community with the common goal of Reaching in, Reaching Out, and Reaching God. Sue Pauly
An Anonymous Story
You may see me at Church. You may wonder who I am and what my story is. But my story - what brought me here and why I come every week - will never be posted on a wall or printed in the bulletin. The faces around me on Sunday remind me that I am not alone - and that not every story reads like a fairy tale.
I was in a bad place when I came to St. Joe's. But, Fr. Jim Leary, the relaxed atmosphere, kind and friendly parishioners - gave me hope and made me feel part of an amazing Church family.
As we read and share one another's stories, I try to remember the people around me whose stories will never be told - the person in the pew next to me who is without a great history or a smiling family photo. I try not to forget the members of our Parish who may be lost, lonely, or broken. Their stories may only be known to God, but they are no less valuable or compelling.
May God bless St. Joseph Parish as He continues to call and unite us one by One. Jane Doe
My Story of Being a St. Joe’s Member
Six or seven years ago I searched for a parish different from the one I then belonged to. I wanted a place that emphasized the Eucharist and did not overindulge in pious practices which deny the power of the Eucharist (in my opinion). I attended Sunday liturgies at several Appleton parishes over a period of time. I chose St. Joe’s because of its long-time dedication to work that tries to help people who are poor among us, notably the Food Pantry. I also trusted the Capuchins to continue this style of leadership, and I admire their practice of telling jokes during the homily or at the end of Mass to engage unenthusiastic parishioners and the rest of us. Fr. Jim’s leadership as pastor is second to none, and there have been many outstanding pastors in the past.
St. Joe’s has a very friendly and outgoing personality. From the call to greet one another at the beginning of Mass to the outreach from members to newcomers, it’s a system in which you are only lonely if you choose to be. The frequent Masses and events for senior citizens, followed by a delicious meal, give opportunities for we older folk to meet and mingle. St. Joe’s has many lifelong members and I enjoy hearing stories of their growing up here.
St. Joe’s helps me practice the practical parts of my faith - the feed-the-hungry, shelter-the-homeless parts of the journey. Its outreach mindset nudges me to do likewise. Today I serve as a lector and belong to the Prayer League which prays for people who ask for that help. I want to be in a place that DOES Eucharist, not just talks about it. St. Joe’s is that for me. Barbara Germiat
The Allen & Kristin Feyen Family
Kristin first attended St. Joe’s as a Lawrence freshman in the fall of 1993. Upon graduating from Lawrence in the Spring of 1997 and finding a job in Appleton, she officially joined the parish. Allen attended another Catholic Church in the area. When we became engaged in 2002, we started Church shopping, to find a parish that felt like home to both of us. St. Joe’s easily remained our top choice. In September 2002, we were married at St. Joe’s. Over the years we have volunteered for parish ministries such as the Young Adult Committee, Parish Council, Fall Festival, the Religious Education program, the Buildings & Grounds Committee, baked for numerous events/bake sales, participated in an Alpha session and now we are both helping with the One by One Campaign. When we attend Church elsewhere, our kids always say, “We prefer St. Joe’s and Fr. Jim. St. Joe’s is the best!” That sums it up beautifully. At St. Joe’s we are so blessed to have the Capuchins, as well as a welcoming community of fellow parishioners and friends to worship with each week. Allen & Kristin Feyen
The Barbara Reinke Family
I’ve been a member of St. Joe’s on and off my whole life. I graduated from 8th grade in 1961. Whenever I’m here, I feel that I’ve just “come home.” I have eight younger siblings and I remember one Christmas Eve all of the young ones ended up waking everyone up at 3:00 am because they saw Santa had come. Oh, the excitement! Then my mother would pack us all up and go to 5:00 am Mass. When we were in school there, you could not have anything to eat after midnight if you were going to have communion. So we all had metal lunch boxes with our breakfast in them to eat when we got back over to school. We had the hot lunches and so many good memories of so long ago. I had my wedding there in 1968. I love Fr. Jim and “our church family members” every Saturday at 4:00 pm Mass. God bless you all. Barbara J. Reinke
The Allen & Barbara Kozlowski Family
My parents, brothers & sisters all came here from Princeton Wisconsin. We went to St. Joe’ Church since I was in fifth grade. We went to school and church and graduated from St. Joe’s. Then I went on to St. Mary’s in Menasha.
My wife and I love St. Joe’s. We come early on Saturday for Mass. There is a very holy feeling here, “Jesus” is so present here. We have met lots of people who are friendly. Fr. Jim is a very caring priest. I have gone to St. Mary’s Catholic Church over time and St. Joe’s beats them all. Al Kozlowski
The Charles & Peggy Reetz Family
I went to grade school at St. Joe’s for grades 3 through 6 and was treated very well. I always enjoyed the hot lunches!! I changed parishes for a while and got remarried. My current wife belonged to St. Joe’s and I was happy to return. Father Jim is an excellent man. Good jokes!! Thank you. Keep up the good work. Chas P & Peggy Reetz
The Douglas Wynboom Family
I’ve been a member for almost thirty years, joining in 1990.. I was married at St. Joe’s. My children were baptized and did reconciliation through IPRF (our Religious Education program). I was a volunteer at IPRF and enjoyed it very much. St. Joe’s feels like home to me. I don’t like to dress up, I like to wear jeans and a T-shirt. It’s just a comfortable church. I tell friends and family about St Joe’s and all they have to offer. One of my favorite memories is coming here for Mass with my children. God Bless.
Douglas Wynboom (60 years old)
The John & Sara Schnell Family
Our family moved into Appleton in 1960. My mother had been married here and so we were returning! All five of my siblings went to St. Joe’s School and Mrs. Thiel worked with the school in the cafeteria back then!
At seventeen, I left Appleton, returning in 1992, but it took until 2003 for me to get back to St. Joe’s.
My favorite memory was in about 1967-68. St Joe’s had a Boys’ Choir. It was like sitting in the corner in heaven listening to Angels sign! Fantastic!
Sadly we have moved to Florida and are finding it difficult to feel the same warmth and friendships we have discovered here at St. Joe’s. And it goes without saying —there is not one like Fr Jim! God Bless All of you!
Sara White Schnell (63 yrs. old)
The James & Johanna Margetta Family
Our journey to St. Joseph Church started with looking for St Mary's. We had been traveling through Appleton for a family Christmas some years back. We were sitting in a restaurant on Christmas Eve before we left we and asked our hostess if she new a catholic church near by. She said St. Mary's is very close and told us how to get there. The service was very nice, but it was the choir that night on Christmas Eve that was so beautiful. We didn't forget the name of the church. Well seven years later in 2007 we moved to Appleton and we said we are going to join St. Mary's. Yes we remembered the name but not the address. We looked for the church and even tried one church in our first week in Appleton but didn't feel like we were all that welcome. The following week was Mother's Day and our son and his family had come to visit us in our new home. We said will try this Church we found in town together. I remember our young grandchildren wanted to sit up front and Father Larry was greeting people before the service and he stopped to speak to us. He asked where we were from and we told him. Father Larry said well we even let Yoopers at St. Joseph and then he winked at us. He finished the service with a joke, something we had never experience before in church. It was like saying we are friends and family here please join us. That is what we did. We joined St Joseph Church. Father Larry had welcomed us but Father Jim has been teaching us why were are catholic and why we love St. Joseph Church. Oh by the way, we did find St. Mary's our second month in Appleton. It must be true you don't see the forest for the trees. No I think we just found home.
James and Johanna Margetta
The Cindy Nygaard Morales Family
I have been a member of St. Joe's for 15 years. I had belonged to another parish in Appleton but over the years it changed and I wasn't feeling fulfilled any more so I went church shopping. A friend suggested I give St. Joe's a try and I loved it the first time I came. I felt like I had come home.
Over the years St. Joe's has become another family to me. Through Twinning, CRHP, Alpha, Lectoring, and various events I got to know more and more people. When I came to mass I always saw someone I knew and the people I didn't now were so friendly I soon got to know them too.
When my husband Tom developed terminal cancer my church family was there with encouraging words, prayers, mass intentions, meals and so much more. When I had to struggle with being alone my church family was there to hold me up until I could stand on my own again. And my St. Joe's church family was there to celebrate with me when they noticed I had changed my name this April. Over the course of the past two years they had noticed the man that came to church with me every Sunday and they welcomed him as they had once welcomed me.
This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Be God to others" and that is what St. Joe's has always done for me. Cindy (Nygard) Morales - 66 yrs old
The Larry & Barb Mauthe Family
… our 'story' truly begins more than 48 years ago, when I became the luckiest man on Earth because Barb said yes following my proposal. In the months that followed, she made it clear that our children, if we were ever blessed to have them, would be raised Catholic and would attend Catholic schools.
We were married at St. Bernard's here in Appleton ( we just LOVED listening to Fr. Jansen speak) , but they didn't have a school. Just after purchasing our first home, we found out we would be blessed with a child the following May, so the issue of choosing a Catholic parish with a school became important. We finally settled on St. Patrick Parish in Menasha and belonged there for well over 30 years.
We moved to Arkansas when our daughter was transferred there, and she and her husband refused to allow our two Granddaughters to remain here with us ! Two years later she was transferred back home, so Barb & I looked around for a new parish Home. I was already retired, but facing the prospect of spending 24 hours a day with me, she choose to find employment that was part-time. The St Mary’s bulletin had a listing for a Secretary here at St. Joe’s. Barb applied, and was offered the position.
We began to attend Mass here, and frankly were astonished. Parishioners' here actually TALKED before mass, sang at Mass, and we learned the concept of a true parish home. Every time we attended Mass here, we were greeted by the person holding the doors, greeted by the people handing out song sheets, and by Deacon CF as he went pew to pew welcoming people.
Father Jim's homilies are so down to earth that he seems to be speaking directly to us, and that sealed the deal. We joined in 2015, and have been happy here in our new parish home ever since!
Saint Joe's is in every respect the servant parish we had been looking for …. a home where parishioners LIVED their faith through outreach... in EVERY way. Barb's Mom joined a few years after we did, and if you look in the back of Church in the chairs at nearly every 4PM Mass, you'll find the three of us there! We love it here, and we were weekly sharing Fr.'s jokes with our family and friends...… and our daughter and son-in-law, as well as our beautiful Granddaughters, joined as well.
In every way, St, Joe's IS our home, and all of you have become part of our family! We are looking forward to being active members here because of all the reasons listed above, and because of one really important thing … YOU ! Larry Mauthe
The Schrauth Family
We joined St. Joe’s about 17 years ago. We were living in an apartment over near Appleton East and we were looking for a church. We went to another church for a while but didn’t like it too much. We tried St. Joe’s and liked it so we stayed there. My grandson was baptized right after we joined.
We really like St. Joe’s. They give us rides to church every weekend. If it wouldn’t be for the bus, we’d be sunk. We’d have to take a cab. They put on a FEAST for seniors at Christmas and on Valentines. We also go to their anointing mass.
We really like Father Jim. He is friendly and he’s understandable. We like it when he tells jokes. He’s so funny. The people at St. Joe’s are friendly. They are nice.
Diane Schrauth, Grandma
The Sherry Freimuth Family
(this is only a partial story, ask her for more)
When I graduated from High School in 1950, my girlfriend and I came to Appleton to find a job. I was still 17 years old at the time and couldn’t get a mill job. I took a second maid job for the President of Appleton Coated Paper. He paid me $20.00 a week. I helped the first maid with all the household chores.
He asked me what religion I was, I told him Catholic. He was really excited that he knew of a nice church & would drive me there on Sunday morning. He was not Catholic. Well guess what he dropped me off at St. Joseph’s. I was awed at all the Priests and Brothers in long brown robes, some with long beards. I’m not sure, but there were at least 12 priests & brothers. I couldn’t tell the difference.
It was such a big church and so awesome, I was in heaven! I thought. I had come from my little home parish St. Denis in Shiocton.
After the first Sunday, I told my boss I would walk home. Reason for that was so I could stay after Mass and pray for my family of 11 brothers and sisters and my parents. It was my first time away from home and I was so “Lonesome” for all of them.
God put me here for a reason and I never left. I have always been at home here. Everyone was so welcoming. The Capuchins are the best!
Gene & I joined sometime in 1951. He was a convert. Fr. Fidelis Coffee was his instructor. He did a wonderful job with helping Gene in such a special way. Gene was baptized here as well as all 10 of our children. All made their First Communions, Confirmations and some weddings here. All attended Grade School here as well.
We were involved in as much as we possibly could be over these 68 years: Parish Council, President of Christian Mothers, Social Concerns, Fall Festivals, Rummage Sales, galore, & funeral luncheons, etc.
Fr Roger Zach called us pillars of the church—he sure go us involved.
My memory of Fr. George in his time tried: he tried to get Block Captains, to visit everyone who belonged to St. Joe’s or anyone who had just moved into the block. I had signed up for it, but he passed away suddenly and the plan didn’t get accomplished.
Fr. John Zickert got me to be a woman usher. He seemed to know that they would put up with me. Well, it worked. The first meeting of ushers that I attended, I told them all that we (women) couldn’t be ushers because the basket was too heavy. After that comment, not another word was said.
Sherry Freimuth 87 years old
The John & Donna Sauter Family
We were married at St. Patrick’s Parish is Halder Wisconsin in 1978 and moved to Appleton. We had our first son in 1979 decided to stop going up North so much and moved to Menasha. We looked for a church to join. We tried churches in Menasha that were cold. (The people kept telling us to get out of their pews.) We stood in back. Then we tried some in Appleton. Some were doom and gloom, but St. Joseph’s was always welcoming and when you left you always felt like you could take on the world. We joined St Joseph’s in 1979.
We raised 4 sons. One was baptized in Halder. The other 3 were baptized at St. Joseph’s. All four made their 1st Communion and Confirmation here. They all went to Catholic Central and St. Joseph’s Middle School. All four were Mass servers. Fr. Zickert had to ask our permission for our son to light a match to light candles because we taught our sons not to play with matches.
The Capuchins took our sons under their wings and the four boys worked at St.. Joseph’s or Monte Alverno.
At St. Joseph’s we were involved in Parish Council and the School Board. The family all did Hospitality and renovations. We were on the Building and Grounds Committee, ran Bake Sales and were Bingo Committee chairs, Project Open Door and others.
The music here is so beautiful, we really love it.
We feel the Capuchins and parishioners were very welcoming and caring, like FAMILY.
Coming to St. Joseph’s is like coming home. John & Donna Sauter
The Roxann Miller Family
My German born maternal grandparents were members of St. Joseph Church early in its history. Many of my Aunts, Uncles, & Cousins followed suit.
My Mother was a member for many years in her adulthood. She was responsible for introducing me to the St. Joseph Community.
I attended St. Joseph School for my ninth grade education. Subsequent to my 50 year old son’s graduation from 8th grade elsewhere I joined St. Joseph’s. My middle child was confirmed at St. Joe’s even thought I was not a contributing member at St. Joe’s yet. All three of my children were married at St. Joe’s. Some of my grandchildren were baptized at St. Joe’s, even one who was brought here from Virginia for her baptism almost 26 years ago..
I have always felt welcome and at home at St. Joe’s. I have bee active, serving on many committees, including Twinning, Daily Mass, Sundays: Reader, Eucharistic Minister, Table Setter, Coffee & Donuts. I have also served previously on committees that no longer exist.
One of the main reason I have remained a contributing member of the St. Joseph Community is that I sense a definite charisma present that enhances my feeling of being an important and cherished member. I attribute this to the Capuchin Order who create this charisma and carry it out as they lead us in our religious journey. Roxann Miller
The Paul & Ruth Vosters Family
My wife Ruth and I transferred to St. Joe’s about two or two and one half years ago. We were looking for a Sunday evening Mass that would accommodate my 12 hour day/night weekend shift work. After attending the 6:30 pm Sunday evening Mass several times, we knew St. Joe’s would be our parish. The positive culture, the values, the welcoming atmosphere and the encouraging words in Fr. Jim’s homilies each week make St. Joe’s a great parish.
Attending Mass the first time at St. Joe’s is probably my favorite memory about St. Joe’s. It was a wonderful experience. Paul Vosters
The Patricia Nelson Family
I joined St. Joe’s after the death of my husband 14 years ago. We worked with St. Joe’s people in the Fr. Glenn’s Mission Club. We were members of another parish. We made friends with people at St. Joe’s and they asked me to join them . I found the people to be very friendly. Fr. Jim gives us a good message and I am happy here. God Bless. Pat Nelson
The Jim Krueger Family
My story starts in 1920 when my Grandpa and Grandma Deschler tried to join Saint Mary’s Church. After trying three times, they were told by the Pastor that it would be best if they join Saint Joseph because they were German.
This led to all seven of their children attending Saint Joseph Church and School. My Mother, Lois Krueger was one of their children. She married my father George at Saint Joseph Church, but because he was a Lutheran, They were wed on the steps of the friary. Years later Father John Holly married them in the church.
My parents also had seven children and we all were baptized, made our First Communion and were confirmed at Saint Joseph Church while attending Saint Joseph School for eight years.
I was born into Saint Joseph Church and I am a proud member of 67 years. My wife Lori and I have three children that were baptized at Saint Joseph as well as our Grandson, Ayden Krueger.
I love Saint Joseph because of the Priests we have had over the years, especially Father Jim. He is a wonderful priest and a terrific human being. He truly teaches us how to live like Jesus. The people at Saint Joseph's Church are friendly and engaged. I enjoy our socials and special gatherings. Saint Joseph’s personality is comfortable and friendly. Our congregation is a great mix of people that get along together and come together when the need arises to help people in need.
I am very glad the Father Jim and his staff have worked so hard to keep our church upgraded by adding a new steeple and cross, new roof, redoing the stained glass windows and lighting the clock. I love the lighted clock! This lets me know that Saint Joseph Church will be here for my grandson and his children. This is very comforting to me.
My favorite memory of Saint Joseph's is the day that my father was confirmed a Catholic and I was his sponsor. This was a proud day for both of us. My dad loved being a member of Saint Joseph’s Church.
My family has worshiped here, been baptized here, married here and buried here. I am grateful to Saint Joseph Church for all they have done for my family and my faith. I am proud to be a member of Saint Joseph Church and proud of my Catholic upbringing. Jim W. Krueger
The Ronald & Barbara Hirn Family
I have been a member of St. Joseph’s for most of my life, and I am 75 years old. My father (George Klein and his wife Josephine) and his family were members and by father’s grandmother (Caroline Maurer) lived here and belonged to St. Joseph also. I started school here in the first grade, graduated in 9th grade and attended Xavier High. I was part of the first graduating class of 1962. I belonged here until I moved to Neenah. Ron & I were married and bought a new house on the south side of Neenah, so we joined a church in that area. When we moved back to Appleton we eventually became members of St. Joe’s. We wanted to be here because this parish was always very dear to me. Ron liked it very much. Everyone was so very nice at church and what I noticed was everyone wanted to help other people at the church. I remember it from the very beginning of my life and always feel so very at home here. When we had our 150th anniversary I wrote the book about the very beginning through 150 years which I got from various books and totally loved it. Learned so many things and felt so very much a wonderful part of this church, literally as well as spiritually.
Barbara (75 yrs old) & Ronald Hirn, December 2019
The Victoria Wirth & Andrew Wanless Family
1) How long have you been a member of St. Joseph Parish? 1 year
2) What is it about St. Joe’s that made you choose to practice your faith here? I felt very included coming to St. Joe’s after exploring other churches. I enjoy being recognized when coming to church and being able to volunteer in the community through the church.
3) How would you describe the “personality” of St. Joe’s? The personality of St. Joe’s would be described as welcoming, caring and uplifting.
4) What makes St. Joe’s special to you? My fiancé and I are getting married here on August 8th which will be a memory that will last a lifetime. Also the fact that my fiancé decided to be a member of this church with me makes St. Joe’s special to me.
5) What is your favorite memory about St. Joe’s? Our favorite memory of St. Joe’s will probably be our wedding day. Coming to St. Joe’s every week is a great memory, but I am sure getting married here will be one that sticks out for us for the rest of our lives.
Victoria Wirth & Andrew Wanless
The Maria & Jim Biesterveld Family
Our family's history at St. Joe’s actually started 20+ years before we ever attended our first Mass here - I attended St. Lawrence Seminary where I met the Capuchins and Maria’s brother, also attended as my classmate.
Through this experience, we both go to know Fr. John Zickert so when our careers eventually brought us to Appleton, it was an easy decision to join St. Joseph’s back in 1991.
We have enjoyed our years here. Maria has been very involved in Music Ministry and our family had mad several trips to Clintwood, Virginia to our Twinning Parish.
I have also enjoyed serving on the Facilities Committee helping where I can. The kids have gone through Catholic Education and now look forward to playing the bells on Christmas Eve 4pm Mass. We highly recommend St Joe’s to anyone out there looking.
The Jeanne Groves Story
I have been a member of St. Joe’s Parish about three years. I joined because I was attending Mass there more often than in my former parish. My first time was a summer Saturday when I needed an earlier service. I noticed right away that the pews were not anatomically designed (my parish also had cushioned seats). I didn’t dwell on that very long because parishioners were talking out loud to each other and several said hello to me. Wow! What a happy group and warm reception. No sour pusses.
Then Mass started and EVERYONE sang. This was indeed impressive and because it was loud enough that I could sing too. I can’t carry a tune and when I have sung in the past those sitting in front of me often would turn to see who was behind them before the end of the first song. No one to date has turned to look here! It is a testament to the warm, accepting, good-natured people of St. Joe’s.
Father Jim’s sermon that day held my attention and was thought provoking in living my faith. That certainly has continued, and I often comment to family and friends about a sermon. He has the gift in preaching of creating anticipation and eagerness to listen.
I have come to feel the grace and peace within these walls and am able to walk away renewed by a greater commitment and awareness of my faith. St. Joe’s has become home for me (finding comfort in those pews!).
Jeanne Groves, age 73
The Bill & Pat Christensen Story
Bill has been a member of St. Joe’s since his birth in 1935 when he was baptized at St. Joe’s.
The church was a found for Bill and hi nine siblings for school and family church attendance.
I (Pat) had my religious education at St. Joe’s in 1956. First Communion and Confirmation followed.
In October of 1958 we were married at St. Joe’s. Two of our five children were baptized here.
Due to a move we had to change churches in 1063.
Coming back to St. Joseph Church in April of 2016 was like coming home.
We sense the presence of the Lord among us through worship, Fr. Jim, beautiful music and the friendly parishioners. May God bless St. Joseph Church for many years to come. Bill & Pat Christensen