History Timeline

1842      Charles Dickens visits Lebanon.

1850      Catholic families celebrate Mass in the Ward homestead.

1857      Lebanon incorporated as a town.

1858      Fr. Augustine Reineke named pastor of St. Dominic, Breese, including settlement of Lebanon.

1861      Start of Civil War.

1862      First church was erected on Pearl Street.

1866      Parish Records note 24 Baptisms, 12 First Communions, 18 Confirmations, 2 Marriages, 1 Death.

              Cemetery land purchased.

1868      One room frame schoolhouse erected. For the first 32 years, classes were taught by laity.

1871      Nicholas Faust and Joseph Ganschinietz named first trustees.

1876      First financial records maintained: January Income $21.10, including $9.10 from Sunday collections.

1879      Fr. Francis Trojan first resident pastor of St. Joseph Parish.

1882      Lebanon has 3600 residents, boasts various manufacturing and trade organizations and eight churches.

1888      Diocese of Alton divided into the Diocese of Belleville and Springfield. The number of churches in the new Diocese numbered 82. The number of secular priests: 56, religious priests: 4.

1890      The City of Lebanon installs electric light plant.

1891      Fr. Gillen and trustees Franz Morgenstern and Henry Becherer acquired land on Hwy 4 for construction of a brick and stone church of Gothic design to seat nearly 300 (cost $10,000.). 

              Work was notably scarce, crops had failed.

1892      Cornerstone of new church was placed on Easter Monday, witnessed by many local citizens and visitors.

1897      Church is paid for in five years. 

1900      Adorers of the Precious Blood sisters arrive and assume operation of St. Joseph School.

1902      Lebanon is served by electric street railway to E. St. Louis.

1908      Main streets of Lebanon are paved.

1912      Parish roster contains 57 family names.

1918      Ferd Mersinger joins Henry Becherer as a trustee; both served continuously for almost 40 years.

1923      Inadequate facilities and lack of attendance closes St. Joseph School.

1943      Fr. Joseph Roken dies, having served as pastor for 18 years.

1945      At close of WWII, Cyril Lebert and Rubert Missey had been killed in action.

1950      Ground was broken for a new school on July 30.

1951      School opens with 68 children taught by Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

1955      Enrollment reached 168 students.

1968      Land acquired for building of present church.

1970      Record of first Pastoral Council election.

1970s    Ministerial Alliance is formed. Ecumenical services for Thanksgiving and Good Friday Way of the Cross are planned. Vacation Bible School and Community Food Pantry begin lasting ecumenical relationship.

1979      Present church consecrated on March 19, St. Joseph Feast Day.

1983      Greg Hogg first lay person in Diocese hired to be a pastoral associate. McKendree hires him part-time as campus minister.  Emerald Gardens (Cedar Ridge) opens. Parish provides weekly liturgy two nursing homes in town.

1985      Sister relationship formed with Catholic Urban Programs and Griffin Center. Men’s Club builds study cubbies for Learning Center. Parish makes commitment to provide Christmas gifts and school supplies for children every year.  

1988      Diocese of Belleville Centennial Year.

1989      Sharon Dietz is the first woman appointed trustee of St. Joseph.   Church Mortgage is paid. 

              SVDP chapter formed at St. Joseph Parish.

1993      Lebanon Ministerial Alliance forms Community Care Coalition to help the needy. Archie D’Amico serves as community advocate for the poor.

1994      Brenda Pehle appointed first Parish Life Coordinator in the Diocese by Bishop Wilton Gregory.

1995      St. Joseph is one of four founding churches for Christian HomeCare Services, Inc. providing practical care and services for elderly.

2003      St. Joseph Parish Clusters with St. Mary, Trenton, St. George, New Baden, St. Bernard, Albers and St. Damian, Damiansville.

2012      St. Joseph Parish celebrates 150 years.

                        Creates St. Joseph golf and tee shirts.

                        Assists E. St. Louis Hearth and Home Build.

                        Participates in Fireman’s Picnic.

                        Explores St. Louis City Museum.

                        Publishes cookbook of recipes of parishioners past and present.

                        Holds community wide pig roast and music festival.

                        Sponsors Trivia Night.

                        Designed commemorative Christmas ornament.

2013      Closes year-long celebration with Mass and Pot Luck.

2014      Bishop Braxton announces partnership of St. Joseph Parish with St. Nicholas, O’Fallon.

2017      Bishop Braxton announces partnership of St. Joseph Parish with Corpus Christi Parish, Shiloh. 

              Msgr. James Margason is appointed pastor.