St. Joseph Church was at first just a small German speaking grade school community that was a small school in the area, so the children would not have to walk all the way to the grade school at St. Mary’s Church on 9th Street. The small community grew in numbers and the then Bishop Young gave them a newly ordained priest, Rev. Joseph Stumpe who said the first Mass in that school house on the first Sunday of September, 1866, in a new 20 by 40 addition, which served as chapel and sacristy, generally partitioned off from the schoolroom and open only during the Mass.
This is where it all began. That date was September 2, 1866, but we decided to keep it as it was then and celebrate it today of the first Sunday of September 2016. This is the official Kickoff of a 10-month preparation to the actual date of the first Mass at the newly built St. Joseph Church which was 36 by 80 feet and was where the current rectory is today, on the First Sunday of June, 1867. So next June we will have a full weekend celebration with prayers, Saturday night Mass with Bishop Perscio, followed by dinner and a dance, and other celebration to kick off our 150th Anniversary year.
We are also going to be celebration the 25th year of the Bread of life Community which was founded on January 10, 1991 and so even though we are in the midst of the 25th year now, since we are a combined community we want to make this one big celebration.
Now what we are going to for these following 10 months is have a different speaker come and speak on the first Thursday of each month. They will give a talk at 7:00 PM and it will be followed by questions and answers, and then refreshments. Each of these speakers will focus on various ways that we can build on what so many people have built before us, and then give us ideas on how we can move on in the future and have an impact of the Erie Community. The purpose is for us to see what God is calling us to do in the future and not just celebrate our past. I am very excited about this and I pray that all of you will participate in all these talks as much as you can.