FRIEND (SNR) – St. Joseph Parish in Friend recently celebrated its 140th anniversary.
The parish was established under the name St. Ludgerus, serving about 39 families. The original church and rectory were built in 1878, only to be destroyed by a tornado six months later. The church was rebuilt with the same materials and within a year the parish size nearly doubled.
Visiting priests celebrated Mass in the parish until the first resident pastor was named in 1885, Father Wunibald Wolf.
The parish built a new church in 1904 and it was dedicated in honor of St. Joseph. The current church was built in 1994. The parish has also constructed a rectory (1913), a school which was later replaced by a parish hall (1923), and a hall (1983).
In the past 140 years, 22 priests have served the parish. Father Lawrence Stoley is the current pastor.
An ice cream social was held June 24, themed “Taste and See the Goodness of the Lord.”
Father Stoley celebrated Mass, followed by the open house. Historical documents, pictures and artwork were on display for those in attendance. A self-guided tour pamphlet was provided, which explained and pictured many items in the church that have been donated, designed and built by parishioners, and/or saved from the previous churches.