One hundred and seventy years ago as the Catholic community of Lancaster was growing, German-speaking Catholics petitioned their bishop for a parish of their own, and in September of 1849 the Rt. Rev. Francis Patrick Kenrick, Bishop of Philadelphia, began that process. According to our anniversary booklet (1974) “the Reverend Bernard Bayer, a Redemptorist priest, was sent from Philadelphia to Lancaster to organize the new congregation under the patronage of Saint Joseph.”Additionally, on what has now become known as Cabbage Hill, property was purchased from Caspar Hauk for $260 for a future church. For 17 decades, Catholic families have gathered to worship God, have taught their children the Catholic Faith, and contributed to the well-being of Lancaster.
As we begin a whole year of celebrating this 170th Anniversary, we have the opportunity to understand more fully and live more faithfully who we are as the Catholic Community of Saint Joseph’s. Saint Joseph Church has a solid foundation with our German ancestors. At the same time, we truly reflect that we are CATHOLIC, as we not only have families with German roots and other, various European ethnicities, but also have more recent immigrants from Latin American, Pakistan, Burma, and the Congo. In fact, we experience a new dimension of this richness on Sunday, September 22nd when Fr. Deogratias celebrates the first Mass in Swahili for our African brothers and sisters.
Thus, the richness and pride of our heritage stem not only from 170 years of history and tradition, but that this tradition derives from our one Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the Head of his Mystical Body, the Church, and from the Holy Spirit, who animates it. To begin this year of observances, a special Mass of Thanksgiving will be offered this Tuesday, September 17th at 7:00 PM, the Feast of St. Hildegard of Bingen, Germany. Born in 1098 in Germany, Saint Hildegard became a Benedictine nun and later an abbess. Pope Benedict XVI declared her a Doctor of the Church, one of only four women with this title. This Tuesday, September 17th, marks the 840th anniversary of her death. Sharing our German heritage and a special link to September, St. Hildegard and her feast are quite an appropriate part of our legacy.
And if these two events are not exciting enough, let me make a quick plug for Dr. Paul Thibault’s talk on “Leading with Beauty: A Presentation on Catholic Architecture” on Tuesday, September 24 at 7pm. Details HERE. I hope you can attend what is sure to be a riveting presentation!
I hope to see you at all three of these events coming up on September 17, September 22 and September 24… In the mean time, if you have any questions whatsoever, please call the rectory and/or check out the parish bulletin here for more information.
Thank you for all that you do for our parish community!
In the Peace of Christ,
Fr. Allan Wolfe