St. Joseph Catholic Church - Louisville, KY
N 38° 15.465 W 085° 43.588
16S E 611422 N 4235180
Quick Description: With the development of the section of Louisville known as "Butchertown," Then at the eastern edge of the city, came a number of Catholic families. The cornerstone for St. Joseph's was laid on August 13, 1865.
Location: Kentucky, United States
Date Posted: 1/12/2008 10:43:10 PM
Waymark Code: WM2YXM
The building was completed and dedicated on January 6, 1866, by the Right Reverend Peter J. Lavialle, Bishop of Louisville. The church was built to serve those Catholics speaking German, whom had to go either to St. Martin's or to the more distant St. Boniface Church, both far enough to make church going inconvenient. When their number justified it, the Right Reverend Martin John Spalding, Bishop of Louisville, determined that they should have a parish of their own.
The following information comes directly from the church's website (visit link
Looking at the list of names of the pioneer parishioners given above, one would gain the impression that St. Joseph Parish at its inception was for the German Catholics exclusively. This, however, was not the case. Originally it was a so-called "mixed" parish composed of both Irish and German families, a condition that lasted until 1876-7 when the English-speaking Catholics obtained their own church on the corner of Washington and Buchanan Streets.
During these formative years the first two pastors of St. Joseph's were continually harassed by financial difficulties. Money was hard to obtain, and the debts of the parish mounted. Father Van der Hagen could no longer cope with the situation, and when he was transferred to St. Louis Church at Henderson, Ky., in May 1875, a change in the administrators of the parish took place.
Bishop McCloskey asked the Franciscans Fathers of Cincinnati, who were already working in Louisville at St. Boniface Church, to take charge of St. Joseph's, and when Father Ubald Webersinke, O.F.M., their superior, agreed, Father Luke Gottbehoede, O.F.M., of St. Boniface Church, was sent to assume temporary charge until June, 1875 when Father Eugene Butterman, O.F.M., was appointed first Franciscan pastor of the parish. After 127 years of Franciscan spirituality, the shortest in vocation to religious life and the priesthood pressed the Franciscans to leave our parish in 2002.
In 141 years of the St. Joseph foundation, our community has proved that our hearts are always open to the new migrant communities. Today a Spanish mass is offered in our church as a new Hispanic Latino community moves to our city.