We, the people of St. Joseph Parish, are called to express our Catholic identity in joyful worship and in the responsible sharing of our gifts, as we reach out to others in our community and grow in our faith, knowledge and love of God.
For approximately 75 years, St. Joseph existed as a mission parish of St. Patrick’s in McHenry--in spite of the fact that near its beginning the small congregation in the northeast corner of McHenry County actually had a pastor in residence.
The "resident pastor" circumstance came about in 1858 when Father Andrew Eustace (1857-1859), Pastor of St. Patrick in McHenry, moved his residence from McHenry to Richmond after he built a small log church in Richmond. Richmond was still in its mission status, but he chose to live there. He was the only pastor to do so until the Richmond congregation became a parish and received its first official resident pastor in 1925.
The church that Father Eustace had constructed served Richmond area Catholics for just over 40 years. A donation left to the parish by the Walsh family enabled its members to construct a new church in 1899. The frame building, located north of town across Twin Lakes Road and a bit north of the present cemetery, was dedicated on November 26, 1899, and renamed in honor of St. Joseph.
When Father Karl Ostenkoetter (1925-1930) became St. Joseph’s first resident pastor, the parish attained independent status. During his pastorate, the church built in 1899 was sold and Father Ostenkoetter arranged for the pruchase of an unused Protestant church, which was renovated for use as St. Joseph’s third church. The building was located a half block west of U.S. Highway 12 and a block south of Illinois 173, which later became the site of the parish school.
At the time of Father John Blake (1934-1948) became pastor, Bishop Edward Hoban attached Hebron Township, formerly part of Hartland, to the Richmond parish. With this growth of the parish, it became necessary to build a new church. Father Blake supervised the construction of the present rectory and helped draw plans for a new church. The rectory was moved to its present site, just north of the new church on U.S. 12, and the church’s construction began in 1948.
Father Francis Miller (1948-1965) completed the building of the church. A new parish hall was available for Midnight Mass by Christmas of 1948, and the dedication of the new church building took place on May 30, 1949, with Bishop John Boylan.
St. Joseph Parish celebrated its 50th anniversary as a parish on August 15, 1975, with a Mass concelebrated by Bishop Arthur O’Neill and Father Thomas Neville (1970-1989), pastor.
In 1995, during the pastorate of Father Joseph Kaiser (1991-2004), a new parish office and religious education office were built.
On March 19, 1999, the feast of St. Joseph, Bishop Thomas Doran celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving to celebrate the parish’s 100 years of patronage under St. Joseph.
The parish has held a St. Joseph’s Day potluck for over 20 years.
In the summer of 2008 many members of the Confirmation Class led by Youth Director, Katie Jorgensen, journeyed to Rome along with adult chaperones including the pastor, Monsignor James McLoughlin (2007-2011).
In 2009 the interior church took on a beautiful new look with an extensive paint project which included stenciling on the ceiling and walls. The tall pillars and trim on the exterior of the building were also repainted.
In 2010 the planning work began for the installation of a vertical lift for the church's entryway to enable handicapped and elderly to better access the three levels of the church: sanctuary level, parking lot level, and the parish hall basement level. A Silent Auction & Dinner fundraiser was held to support this project in April of 2011.
In July of 2011 we welcomed, Father Andrew Lewandowski CR as our pastor.
In the spring of 2012 the vertical lift was installed in the church's entryway. Bishop David Malloy blessed our lift the following September.
In September 2012 parishioners joined Fr. Andrew for an 8-day Pilgrim Tour to Poland. They visited the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, Krakow, Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp, and Wadowice where Pope St. John Paul II was born. They also toured the salt mines--one of the most unique places in the whole world, Gdansk where Lech Walesa started the solidarity movement, Warsaw, and Fr. Andrew's hometown of Chelmno--a beautiful 850 year-old city surrounded by a wall from the 12th century.
In July of 2014 we welcomed our new pastor, Msgr. Martin Heinz. As our spiritual father, Msgr. Heinz has led us into a deeper understanding of our faith through his sermons, Bible Studies, and talks throughout the year. We are challenged to live our life of faith and share our beliefs of the one true Church. Please click here to listen to Msgr.' homilies or talks.
Our parish is "Proud of our Past, and is Securing our Future" through a three-year Capital Campaign that began in September 2015. Please click here for information about this campaign. In April 2016 a Silent Auction Dinner was held and raised over $28,000.00 for the Capital Campaign. In the fall of 2016 there was a fury of activity as work began on the physical improvements to our buildings. This work included new windows in the school classrooms and the rectory; new roof and siding for the rectory, remodeling a rectory bathroom, and painting the trim of the church and school. Over the winter months plans include painting the interior of the rectory and church office and remodeling the rectory kitchen. As discussed in the Capital Campaign, additional improvements will be made to the buildings and grounds as the funds are made available.
There are approximately 350 families currently registered at St. Joseph Parish.