About Our Parish

Saint Joseph Parish was established on April 29, 1879.  The parish today with its Romanesque church stands in majesty and splendor on Hohman Avenue in downtown Hammond, Indiana as a monument to those who made it possible.  It is a living center for the people of God who celebrate here today.

In early 1879 Caroline Hohman, a member of the Episcopal Church, donated one acre of land on the corner of present day Hohman and Russell Street to Father Francis Xavier Baumgartner. With the donated land Saint Joseph Catholic Church was established as the oldest religious organization in the city of Hammond. In the summer of that year Father Baumgartner, with the help of the parishioners and other people of Hammond built the first frame church.  The small frame church measured 30' X 60' and cost about $1,000.  On April 7, 1883, Father Baumgartner became the first resident Pastor of Saint Joseph Parish.

Our church building is the third Church structure of Saint Joseph Parish.  At the time of planning it was proposed the church would seat 1,00 people and cost $90,000. On June 16, 1912 the corner stone for the new church was laid with great ceremony.  This made great news for the city of Hammond.  The Lake County Times of June 17, 1912 states "GREAT DAY FOR CATHOLICS Corner Stone Laying for New Saint Joseph's Church Great Success. VAST CROWDS OF VISITORS THRONG CITY AND PARTICIPATE IN CEREMONIES. Fully two thousand marchers take part in parade in afternoon."

In 1979 Rev. Joseph E. Vamos wrote a message in the 100th Anniversary commemorative book:

When one enters Downtown Hammond from almost any direction the towers of Saint Joseph Church rise like a beacon, landmarks the sky.

Indeed they have been beacons to thousands over the one hundred years that life has swirled around their base in our community.

Through the doors of Saint Joseph passed the determined immigrant forefathers of many of our present day parish families. Here too, came the stranger and was welcomed. These walls have heard the cry of the new born baby as Baptism made him a member of God's family and the community of the faithful. The sound of joy was here at Mass on a hundred snow filled Christmas nights. Great "Allelulias" rang out on a hundred sun-lit Easter Days. The happiness of families filled the air at priestly ordinations, First Communions, Confirmations, weddings and jubilees.  Often as quiet tears were shed the great towers seemed to bring added dignity and security at the time of death when loved ones were brought before God's altar of promise.

Smiles and tears, joys and sorrows, hopes and disappointments, pleasures and pains, combat and victory, patriotism and pride of country have been the heritage of one hundred years of Faith at Saint Joseph. If we can define life as the principle of interior activity then we can say it certainly abounds here to overflowing.

To the passerby Saint Joseph Church may seem only a building of brick and stone, but it is more. It has a heart, like every living thing. The strong warm heart of the pioneers who gave it life and the faithful hearts of you who keep it alive.

As we look to the past we give our salute of gratitude and loving memory. To those who are entering the second century of this parish life we say 'Lift up Your Hearts". The towers beckon you! Raise your eyes and see that the best is yet to be!

The words of Father Vamos inspire us as a Faith Community to look to the future with hope in Christ's promise that He would always be with us.

Join us as we continue our Catholic traditions to glorify, praise, and thank our God.

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