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Faith Tradition

Posted September 12, 2012 in Community Featured, Greene County

With its home as the oldest building in Jefferson, St. Joseph Catholic Church serves as the county center for an additional three Greene County Catholic parishes: St. Columbkille in Churdan, St. Paul in Scranton and St. Bridgid in Columbus Junction.

St. Joseph is hosting a bus tour to celebrate the 100th year of the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend on Saturday, Oct. 3. The bus will leave St. Joseph parish at 9 a.m. and return at 6 p.m. The cost is $30. Call the parish office for details. Photo courtesy of M. Richardson.

In a building that turned 100 years old in 2009, St. Joseph’s is ministered by one of the longest-serving Catholic priests in the area, Fr. Don Ries.

Fr. Ries has led Mass in the Catholic faith since 1959 and is the current rector at St. Joseph. As the leader of St. Joseph, he also celebrates Mass and helps coordinate the worship calendars of several area churches, known as “Priestless Parishes.”

Additional responsibilities fall on the lay members of a priestless parish. Fr. Ries’ experience led him to offer workshops for the leadership of outlying churches. Lay members of a small parish, such as St. Brigids in Columbus Junction, must take on many of the duties that normally fall on a full-time priest. Trained lay ministers and deacons can officiate services in the absence of an ordained minister, though Fr. Ries does follow a schedule, holding Mass at the other Catholic churches in Greene County.

Built in 1909, standing at the corner of Reed and Chestnut, St. Joseph is a simple red brick building with a corner bell tower. Large white doors open into the narthex, inviting worshipers into the sanctuary to celebrate a traditional Catholic Mass. Inside, the white walls are often awash in color from the light beaming through the large round stained-glass window above the entrance. The solid oak altar and pulpit are under the constant watch of Christ above and Mother Mary to the side.

Weekend worship services are held at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and 10: a.m. on Sunday. On holy days, services are held at 5:30 p.m.

Many opportunities are available for parishioners to grow spiritually and in knowledge of the church. A Faith Formation class will begin at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 16. On Oct. 3, a parish bus tour to celebrate 100 years at the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend is currently being organized.

The office is open for calls and visitors from Mon. – Fri., 8:30 – 4 p.m. Information can be found online at Ample parking for worship and events is available off North Locust, north of Reed Street.

St. Joseph Catholic Church
501 N. Locust • 515-386-2638
Fr. Don Ries
Mass schedule:
Saturday: 5:30 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m.
Holy days: 5:30 p.m.

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