The first church of the parish was a small log cabin. Within 3 years the congregation consisted of nearly 100 families and had outgrown the original facility. A new brick church was begun in 1840. The building was under roof and used for the first time on December 8, 1841. The brick Church, small in comparison to the present one, was 100 feet long and 54 feet wide.
The present church is the product of the almost singlehanded effort exerted by the fourth pastor, Father Fidelis Maute, O.S.B. Father Fidelis served as architect, contractor, foreman, laborer, fund raiser, and pastor to the new church. All the building materials and labor for the building were provided by the parishioners. The foundation was begun in 1867 and the cornerstone blessed and laid in 1868 by the first missionary to Jasper, Bishop de St. Palais. The church was completed and blessed in 1880 and consecrated in 1888. The cost of the original construction was $80,000.
The church was renovated in 1954 at a cost of $200,000. During this renovation the walls and columns were stripped of their plaster, reinforced and covered with sandstone veneer.
Fr. Fidelis finished the belfry of the tower. The tower was completed in 1904 under the direction of Fr. Basil Heusler, O. S. B. The tower now stands at 235 feet. Fr, Basil took the idea for its design from the tower that is home to Big Ben in London. There are four bells housed in the tower, weighing 12 tons with their hangings. The bells can be heard 10 miles from the church.
The 3 altars are Italian marble; the main altar has two groups of figures representing Abraham and the Melchisedech and each is 7 feet tall. The three large mosaics above the altars were imported from Austria in small sections and assembled on the location. The mosaic over the main altar represents Christ the High Priest. Above the altar on the north side of the church, the Assumption of Mary is portrayed, and above the south altar one sees the betrothal of Mary to Joseph. The stained glass windows are Swiss and were installed in 1898.
Within the church, the 14 columns supporting the roof are 67 feet high, each a single giant timber of yellow poplar cut from nearby forests and covered in plaster. From the floor to the apex of the groined naves measures 90 feet. The total dimensions of the church are 82'5" by 193'5". The walls are from 4 to 6 feet in thickness and made of sandstone.
On the south lawn of the church stands a cross which is the result of a vow made over 100 years ago. During their voyage to the United States, a violent storm threatened the lives of the German immigrants aboard. George Bauman, a stonecutter, vowed that if they should land safely he would erect a stone crucifix wherever they settled. The cross was completed in 1848 in fulfillment of that vow. Destroyed in a storm itself in 1928, the original was replaced by the present figure in 1932.
The "Plaza of Pastors" on the east lawn of the church honors 3 of St. Joseph's great pastors who served the parish for a combined total of over 100 years. Fr. Basil Heusler, O.S.B. (1898-1942) stands in the center. Fr. Fidelis Maute, O.S.B. (1865-1897), with a carpenter's square in one hand and a cross in the other, has his face turned toward the church he built. Fr. Joseph Kundek (1837-1857), the founder, looks out over the town of Jasper and the other towns in the distance which he founded. Pastor in charge of present day St. Joseph Catholic Church is Father Raymond A. Brenner, whose leadership has continued the proud tradition of excellence and faith so closely tied with this church and its congregation.
Father Brenner was born in Evansville, Indiana. He earned his B.B.A. at St. Meinrad College and his M.Div. at St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology He was ordained as a priest of the Roman Catholic Church in 1969. He was a Deacon of the Nativity Church in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1968 and Associate Pastor of St. John's Church, Loogootee, Indiana, 1969-74. From there, he was Pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Church, Haubstadt, Indiana, 1974-78, Pastor of Saint Mary's Church, Sullivan, Indiana, 1982-86, Pastor of St. Joan of Arc Church, Jasonville, Indiana, 1982-86, Pastor of Resurrection Church, Evansville, Indiana, 1986-02. Since then, he has been Pastor of Saint Joseph Church in Jasper, Indiana. Pastor Brenner's expertise lies in marriage counseling, training in financial management and support groups for divorcees.
Pastor Brenner has numerous affiliations including: Member, Catholic Charities Board, Evansville, 1972-75; Vice President, Ministerial Association, Sullivan, Indiana, 1985-86; President, Council of Priests, Evansville, Indiana, 1989; Diocesan Chaplain, Saint Vincent de Paul Society, Evansville, Indiana, 1990-94;Member, Wabash Valley Human Services, Vincennes, Indiana, 1982-86; Sullivan Housing Authority, 1983-85; Federal Emergency Management Agency, Sullivan, Indiana, 1984-96; Emergency Food Bank, Sullivan, Indiana, 1984-86; Spiritual Advisor, Evansville Catholic Cursillo, 1994 to the present; Chaplain, German Township Volunteer Fire Department, 1998-2002; Community Marriage Builders, 1997-2006; Member Optimists (Chaplain Evansville Westside Club, 1990-2002, District Chaplain, Indiana South, 2006-07); Elks Order of Moose Democrat. Father Brenner is also an esteemed member of the original Strathmore's Who's Who, who continues to play a pivotal role in the promotion of Saint Joseph Catholic Church in 2016-17, alongside their America's Registry sister organization.
Historically, Strathmore's Who's Who publishes an annual two thousand page hard cover biographical registry, honoring successful individuals in the fields of Business, the Arts and Sciences, Law, Engineering and Government. We select mid to upper level management professionals from companies, large and small, throughout the United States as well as internationally. In addition the entire publication is published in a searchable database on this website giving many types of search options. Based on one's position and lifetime of accomplishments, we honor professional men and women in all academic areas and professions. Inclusion is limited to individuals who have demonstrated leadership and achievement in their occupation, industry or profession. We are proud to promote Father Raymond A. Brenner and the beautiful and blessed Saint Joseph Catholic Church.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/saint-joseph-catholic-church-of-jasper-indiana-to-hold-dedication-of-statue-of-saint-mother-theodore-300425519.html
SOURCE Strathmore's Who's Who