In the spring of 1900 some soon-to-be first parishioners of St. Joseph met in the Community Hall in Hainesville to discuss the possibility of beginning a new parish. Perhaps some of the names sound familiar: Amann, Richardson, Rosing, Luby, Thelan. In May of 1911 representatives of the 250 or so Catholics in the Round Lake Area petitioned Archbishop Quigley and in June of 1911 permission was granted to begin the parish and build a church structure.
The original property (160' x 250') was donated by John Rosing and the cornerstone for the wooden structure was laid September 10, 1911. The bell, donated by Mrs. Renehan, was installed in February of 1912 and the church was ready for use March 24th of that year. Rev. Anthony Berger was to be our first Pastor. He lived in the homes of parishioners until he was able to rent a cottage just south of the present rectory.
Fr. Berger died on June 23, 1923. A memorial to his honor can be found at St. Joseph Cemetery on route 120, just west of Cedar Lake Road. Fr. Aloysius Schmitz was appointed pastor and remained with us until 1951.
As the Round Lake Area grew, so did our parish. A basement was dug under the church and transformed into a parish hall. More land was purchased with plans to build a parish school. Plans were delayed due to the effects of World War II, but after the war the face of the Round Lake area began to change. What was once a "summer residence" atmosphere seemed to be quickly changing to a permanent residence for many people.
With the permanent residents and the summer visitors, summertime masses numbered six and it was apparent that a new church structure was needed. Included in this was a need for a parish school. Fr. Schmitz had been working with a committee to determine the feasibility of building and began the process of raising funds. In October of 1950 permission was given to build a school. The future gymnasium would serve as a temporary church.
A group of concerned parishioners - including such names as Molidor, Innis, Finn and Schuemelfender - quickly searched out a religious order of sisters to staff the new school. After some effort they secured three Sisters of the Holy Ghost from Techny, Illinois. They would join us for the school year beginning 1950. The parish hall was a temporary home for our new school of 79 students.
The time had come to build the school that long ago was in our dreams. Fr. Schmitz retired and Fr. Edward Liebrich was appointed administrator in June of 1951 to help us during the process of construction. The work focused first on an auditorium that would allow us to ease the burden of masses for a growing population. Since the Sisters of the Holy Ghost were only able to assist us for a short time, the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary chose to staff the growing school (274 students) and would begin in August of 1952. With much work yet to be done on a new school building, "temporary and urgent," seemed to be the sound our ancient church bell rang during this phase of our history.
On November 16, 1952 the parishioners rejoiced as Cardinal Stritch came to Round Lake to dedicate our new parish church and school. Finally we had a permanent home for our students and sisters and a larger space to worship God and celebrate the mass. Yes, we also had a debt, but with dedication our parishioners worked hard to accomplish the payment of the debt.
Shortly after completing the school, remodeling the rectory became our next adventure. Parishioners did the work and improved the living conditions for our pastor and for priests yet to come.
It was not long before more building projects captured our attention. The school was growing and we absolutely had to find appropriate living conditions for our sisters. In 1962 plans were drawn up for a school addition and a new convent. That same year Fr. Liebrich was transferred and Fr. John Hayes became our pastor. He continued the building projects we had begun and in 1964 both the new classrooms and convent were put into full use.
In 1972 Msgr. Hayes was transferred and Fr. Paul McArdle was assigned as pastor. He established a Parish Council and with their help determined that the parish needed to build a new church and convert the auditorium into a gymnasium and parish hall, a use for which its design was intended. On May 20, 1979 ground was broken for the much needed project and on October 14th the cornerstone was laid.
Some points of interest in its construction are: the use of the bell from the original church, moved to the new church by Gene Amann and Ed Luby; stained glass windows that depict "in faceted glass the meaning of the church, the People of God. They begin with God's plan in creation and how in promise and prophecy God showed His continuing love for [humankind], and continue with fulfillment - the incarnation of Christ, and the Sacraments. The last three windows, in the series of twelve, are the Faith, Charity and Stewardship of the People of God, the Prophetic Office of the People of God, and the Final Glory of the People of God." (Taken from our 75th anniversary book.)
In June of 1984 Fr. McArdle died in the rectory after twelve years of dedicated service. Fr. Dave Braun became a temporary administrator until Fr. Ray Skriba was assigned as pastor in 1985. Ministerial outreach took the form of more lay involvement and solid beginnings of Hispanic ministry. Another addition was put on the school and many ministries were active.
In 2002 Fr. Skriba left St. Joseph and Fr. Scott Hebden became the temporary administrator. In August of 2003 a new "team" of priests arrived nearly at the same time: Fr. Joe Allen as our pastor and Fr. Don Lund as his associate. Fr. Joe left St. Joseph in March of 2007 and in June of 2007, Fr. Tim O'Malley served as pastor from July of 2007 until June of 2015. Fr. Julio Ceasar Jimenez Soto, who was appointed associate pastor of St. Joseph in July of 2013 became administrator of St. Joseph from July of 2015 until June of 2016. Fr. Michael L. Zoufal was appointed to the pastorate of St. Joseph July of 2016 and serves St. Joseph Parish to the present.
Over the years our parish has been blessed with several associate priests and deacons who contributed both in ministries and administration. At present, one deacon serves us, Joel Ruiz and another is in training.
Ministries are on the rise at our parish and lay participation is growing. The parish is dedicated to the protection of children and has taken many steps to secure the proper administration of its resources. We see ourselves as a Stewardship parish in which our hope is that all parishioners see themselves as sharers in the work of building God's Kingdom in our area, sharing generously of time, talent and treasure. We are a multicultural community and celebrate this in our daily lives and in worship. Perhaps our Parish Pastoral Council's mission statement captures some of how we view ourselves:
The members of the Parish Pastoral Council recognize as our mission: To foster a Christ-like spirit of prayer, participation, cooperation, and stewardship in all the members of our parish; to manifest unity in our parish family through respect and representation of our various cultures; to communicate and express the needs and wishes of the whole parish with thoughtful recommendations to the pastor, in the humble example of St. Joseph, our patron.