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Saint Joseph Parish is an offspring of the Sacred Heart Parish on Comanche St. in Corpus Christi, Texas. In 1932, Rev. Father Alvarez, Pastor of Sacred Heart Church, built a wooden structure on 11th St. This chapel was erected to provide a place of worship for the people of this rapidly growing section of the city. Soon this chapel served for all liturgical services, daily masses, baptisms, marriages and other devotions. Rev. Joseph Castillon was in charge.Chapel inside

On June 27,1936, Sacred Heart Parish was given to the care of the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Holy Family. Rev. Anthony Elsing, M.S.F was appointed 
pastor. With the assistance of other Holy Family Fathers, Father Elsing was able to provide the necessary pastoral ministry to all the Latin American faithful in Corpus Christi. 

In 1945 World War II had ended and the memories of the many soldiers who lost their lives during the war was still fresh in people's minds. St. Joseph Church was planned as a memorial to these heroes. Work on the Church started in 1948 and was dedicated July 4, 1950 by Bishop Mariano S. Garriga, the first Texas born Bishop in the Corpus Christi Diocese.Drawing of Church

For more than a year the church was used for all services but still under the care of Sacred Heart’s Pastor. On January 9, 1952, Fr. Elsing moved to become the first pastor of St. Joseph Church. The old chapel was moved to the present site of St. Joseph Church on 19th St. It served for many religious and social gatherings, as well as, rooms for catechism classes. 

The parish had grown and was badly in need of an assistant pastor. For these reason rooms were added to the parish hall, which became the pastor's living quarters and the room off the sacristy became the quarters of the new assistant. Fr. Alphonse Fiato, M.S.F. arrived at the Parish in October of 1954.

Two years later Fr. Fiato moved to Beeville, Texas, and was replaced by Fr. Paul Okros, M.S.F. In the meantime, the new rectory was designed and construction began. The new structure was added to the back of the church with a door leading directly into the sacristy. This rectory was blessed in 1958. At this time two assistants, Fr. Maas, M.S.F. and Fr. Leonard Kelly, M.S.F joined Fr. Elsing.

In the beginning of 1960 Fr. Elsing was elected superior of Sacred Heart Monastery and so the first pastor of St. Joseph Church was called back to Sacred Heart. He exchanged positions with Fr. Henry Romer, M.S.F. as the second pastor.

In 1963, Fr. Romer was elected Provincial of the North American Province of the
Congregation of the Missionaries of the Holy Family. In 1964, he left  for St. Louis, Missouri, to take up his duties. Fr. Francis Maas, M.S.F. was appointed pastor, but soon after, became seriously ill. His doctor asked to have him released from his parish obligation.

Fr. Herman Berg, M.S.F. became the fourth pastor of St. Joseph Church. Fr. Arthur Riggs, M.S.F. and Fr. Charles Niebel, M.S.F. were his assistants. In 1969, serious illness and heart trouble led the superiors to relieve Fr. Berg from the heavy duty of St. Joseph Parish. Damage by Celia

Fr. Romer returned as pastor after completing six years as Provincial. His dream to build a parish hall, better fitting all kinds of purposes, especially for the youth, became a reality mainly through the natural disaster of the torrential hurricane “Celia” in 1970. There was a great deal of damage and many other problems arose because of “Celia”. However, repairs were made and an all-purpose hall was built. 

(to be continued)


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