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St. Joseph Catholic Church, Detroit

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Title: St. Joseph Catholic Church, Detroit  
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Subject: Detroit, Saint Joseph (disambiguation), History of Detroit, List of tallest buildings in Detroit, Architecture of metropolitan Detroit, List of tallest buildings in Michigan
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St. Joseph Catholic Church, Detroit

St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church
Facade of St. Joseph's
Location Detroit, Michigan
 United States

42°20′43″N 83°2′8″W / 42.34528°N 83.03556°W / 42.34528; -83.03556Coordinates: 42°20′43″N 83°2′8″W / 42.34528°N 83.03556°W / 42.34528; -83.03556

Built 1870-1873
Architect Francis G. Himpler; Donaldson and Meier
Architectural style Late Gothic Revival; German Hall Church
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 72000670, 91002013[1]
Added to NRHP December 08, 1972, January 28, 1992

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, founded in 1855, is a historic German Catholic parish with a landmark church located at 1828 Jay Street in the Eastern Market - Lafayette Park neighborhood area just outside of downtown Detroit on the city's central east side. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and deemed 'of national importance' due to its stained glass.[2]


The German-inspired Gothic structure had its cornerstone laid in 1870 and was dedicated in 1873, making it one of the oldest extant churches in Detroit. Francis G. Himpler, a Ottweiler(Germany)-born New York architect, designed the building which is considered one of the Midwest's best examples of Victorian Gothic architecture, especially so because the structure is effectively unaltered. The building is distinguished by its stained glass, notable in its intricate designs and wide usage. Also of note is the woodwork, statuary, and original high altar in the interior. St. Joseph's Church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972; the buildings in the surrounding complex were added in 1992. Located at 1828 Jay Street, the church still operates today with two Masses every Sunday and Daily Mass on certain weekdays.

Traditional worship

St. Joseph Parish has continued traditional worship throughout its history, maintaining the Latin language, alongside vernacular German and English, in its Novus Ordo Masses after the Second Vatican Council. Many Masses are celebrated ad orientem, but a free-standing altar is available for priests who prefer it. In Fall 2007, after a 37 year absence, the parish reinstated the Latin Tridentine Mass which was widely replaced when the Catholic Church created the Novus Ordo Mass in 1969. St. Joseph joins the nearby parishes of St. Josaphat and Assumption Grotto as one of the few midwestern parishes offering the old Mass. St. Joseph offers it occasionally on some feast days, such as Christmas and St. Joseph's day. As a historically German parish, St. Joseph also offers German language Masses occasionally.

The parish is known for its musical heritage, offering orchestral Masses composed by the likes of Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, and lesser known composers on certain Sundays and Holy Days, and maintaining traditional choir and organ music. The St. Joseph tracker organ is a powerful instrument in a fine acoustical space. Originally built by J. H. & C. S. Odell for the present Church structure in 1873, the organ was greatly altered about 1910 and again in the early 1940s. Having declined into unplayability, it was replaced for the celebration of the church building's centennial in 1973 by the organ builder William M. Worden, using many of the Odell pipes. It currently contains twenty-nine stops. For greater general participation during the Latin Mass, St. Joseph Parish is one of the very few parishes probably in the entire United States to have available for use, even by the entire congregation, the Gregorian Missal published by the monks of Solesmes. The traditional Adoremus Hymnal published by Ignatius Press is also used at both the Latin and English Masses. Contemporary worship hymns are not used by the St. Joseph Music Ministry.

While not unique in being respective of tradition and creating solemnity in this manner, St. Joseph Parish lies outside the mainstream of contemporary American Catholic worship.

St. Joseph is clustered with two neighboring Polish-heritage parishes, St. Josaphat's and Sweetest Heart of Mary, both on nearby Canfield Street, and both also on the National Register.

See also


References and further reading

External links

  • St. Joseph Catholic Church website
  • Francis G. Himpler, architect
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