A new parish center at St. Joseph Parish in Imperial fulfills a need identified about 25 years ago when the parish developed a master plan and sought an expanded campus, moving from a 2.7 acre site to 15.5 acres just off the Interstate 55 exit.
Parish groups such as Bible studies, book clubs, prayer groups, sewing clubs, moms’ groups, family movie nights, men’s groups, seniors’ groups and any other parish or school-related organizations are invited to use the new Corpus Christi Center, which was blessed Aug. 23. “Bringing together people for authentic and meaningful fellowship is what our world desperately needs in 2019,” Father Daniel Shaughnessy, parish pastor, wrote in the parish bulletin.
The new building offers opportunities for parishioners and others to come together for “authentic community in Jesus Christ,” Father Shaughnessy stated.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Olga Coab regarding the completion of a master plan for St. Joseph Parish begun by Father Andrew Sigmund in the mid 1990s with the move from Kimmswick to Imperial. Previously, groups met off campus in homes or in cramped rooms elsewhere on the parish campus.
Coab attended the Mass and blessing by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of the new 16,000-square-foot parish center with offices, event space and a large gathering area. Parishioners stayed for a meal and music afterward.
“The parish has really grown, and it’s a wonderful parish,” Coab said.
Mary Ann Taylor, who also attended the event, said she wouldn’t miss the celebration. “I wanted to see the fruits of our labors,” Taylor said. “It’s a great parish. The people have strong faith and generosity. We’re a close-knit family.”
Jim Caruso, who helped educate parishioners on the need for the center, said “it’s a dream come true to see this come to fruition.”
Caruso cited the vibrancy of the 2,200-household parish in northeast Jefferson County, including a parish school with increasing enrollment and many growing ministries.
Heather Selsor, who has two children who attend the parish school, said she attended the blessing to be part of the parish community. “It’s important to my husband and I that our kids are raised in the Catholic faith. The sisters (Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) and teachers are inspiring to the kids and do a great job,” she said.
Archbishop Carlson, in the homily at the Mass, urged the parish to open the doors to the church, school and new parish center for everyone in the area to learn about the love of Jesus Christ. “Love everyone who crosses the threshold of that door,” he said.
At the offertory, people sang the hymn “Open My Eyes Lord,” which seemingly affirmed the Archbishop’s words when they sang “Open my heart Lord, help me to love like you.” And in the petitions, they prayed to “love our neighbors and serve those in need.”
The story of St. Joseph Parish
St. Joseph Parish began in March
of 1874 as a small mission in Kimmswick where Mass was celebrated in
the homes of various parishoners. Construction on the original frame St.
Joseph Church in Kimmswick began in 1876. The first resident pastor was
appointed in 1905, and the parish grew from a small wooden church to a
new brick church with a school, convent and rectory.
1992 the parish began looking for land on which to build a new home. The
property in Kimmswick was too small for a rapidly growing faith
community. In January of 1993 the parish purchased the existing campus
land and St. Joseph Parish moved to the site in Imperial across
Interstate 55 with a church, school, food pantry and meeting areas.