Together in Spirit

History of St. Joe's

Our St. Joseph of the Lakes Parish History


    • 1850's...Area Catholics traveled to St. Genevieve's Church in Centerville until the Catholics of the Rice Lake area requested that a church of their own be established.  Approval was given for a mission church of St. Genevieve's to be started with Father Joseph Goiffon serving as pastor for both facilities.
    • 1888...Pat Golden donated two acres and twelve residents contributed forty dollars each to begin construction of a wood church.  Mass was held in the church yard while it was built.
    • 1891...The Church of St. Joseph of Rice Lake was incorporated.
    • 1893...The first parish house was built to provide housing for the Father Goiffon while he was in Rice Lake.
    • 1895...The wooden church structure was destroyed by a severe storm.
    • 1897...A new brick church was completed on the same site in Rice Lake. Father Goiffon retired and was replaced by Father Francis Combettes.
    • 1907...An addition was constructed on the church to help serve the 20 families of the parish.  This included stained glass windows and a chimney.
    • 1917...An oval sanctuary was added to the church.
    • 1929...The original parish house was destroyed by fire and during this year the second parish house was torn down.  Father Schaefer commuted to Rice Lake from his temporary home at St. Genevieve.
    • 1936...The basement of the church was created to provide more space for church social functions.
    • 1939...The Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary was established with 39 members. This was the first independent organization separate from St. Genevieve's.  The church of St. Joseph of Rice Lake became a separate parish from St. Genevieve's and Father Francis Hammang came from the St. Paul Seminary each week to serve as pastor.
    • 1941...The parish population consisted of 120 families.
    • 1944...A new bell tower was added to the church
    • 1948...The pastor at this time, Father James Cecka, requested that the church floor be replaced. The Altar and Rosary Society, Ladies Parish Council, the Men's Club, Ladies Sewing Circle, the Young People's Society and the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine spent two years raising the funds for the project.
    • 1950...The church floor was replaced.
    • 1955...The Rice Lake area was officially named Lino Lakes, named for the "line of lakes" that lay within the village limits.
    • 1957...The parish was surveyed (showing it had tripled in size since 1954) and a pledge campaign was conducted to prepare for the future building that would be required.
    • 1961...Father Edward Greskowiak was named pastor. Father Cecka had been setting aside parish funds for future needs, and $100,000 had accumulated.  Parish membership at this time was 450 families, consisting of 2,150 members.  Archbishop Leo Binz directed the parish to engage an architect to work on long range plans for the church, school, convent, permanent rectory and parking area on the 15 acres Father Cecka had purchased.  The rectory was completed. 

Rather than having three crowded Masses at the church, two Masses were celebrated at the Centennial Junior High School gym.  An "All-In-One" program and building fund appeal took place.  Weekly communication in the church bulletin, Circulating Pines, and The Catholic Bulletin kept everyone informed of the building project.

    • 1963...The new church was completed and prepared by parishioners for an Easter Mass attended by 1,620 people. June 16th marked the actual blessing of the church by Archbishop Binz. At this time it was thought the church would be temporary, later converted to a school gymnasium and and that a new church would be constructed. Footings for the school were dug and ground was broken for the new convent. 
    • 1964...The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet were assigned to the parish school and parishioners once again helped finish convent.

The school opened September 8th with an enrollment of 200 students. In addition, there were 337 student enrolled in religious education.

  • 1965...The "All-In-One" program came to an end.  During its three year period, the parish gained 200 families and averaged $1,845 in weekly contributions. 
  • 1966...The cemetery was expanded.  The Parish celebrated its 75th Anniversary with a Mass celebrated by Monsignor Cecka, and with an open house and chicken dinner.
  • 1970...The parish school was closed due to a shortage of funds.
  • 1973...A new Bell tower was erected
  • 1976...The first Parish Council was established and created committees to oversee worship, religious education, finance and administration, The parish had grown to 850 families with 1,000 - 2,000 attending Mass each Sunday.
  • 1980...The convent became an office building for the parish staff.
  • 1982...The St. Joseph Workbench, a  monthly newsletter was created.
  • 1987....Father John Fitzpatrick and Father Kenneth LaVan were named co-pastors.
  • 1991...The parish celebrated its centennial with an outdoor Mass and open house at the old church.
  • 1995...Father John Fitzpatrick retired. Father Timothy Morin was assigned as pastor. 
  • 1996....Ground breaking day for new church building occurred on April 28th.
  • 1997...March 19, on the Feast of St. Joseph, the parishioners moved all equipment and supplies to the new church building in preparation for the first Mass on March 23rd. There were now 1,825 families in the parish.