St. Joseph Parish – DeWitt

Exterior of St. Joseph Church in DeWitt.

(During the Year of St. Joseph, The Catholic Messenger is featuring churches whose patron saint is St. Joseph.)

Location: St. Joseph Parish is located in Clinton County and has 520 families. Father Stephen Page serves as pastor.

History: In the early 1850s, a number of Catholic families settled near DeWitt. In 1852, they asked Bishop Mathias Loras to send a priest on a regular basis. The bishop visited and promised to send a priest four times per year. During that visit, according to a history of the parish, the bishop purchased a lot with a log house for a Catholic settlement. St. Simon Church was located at what is today Sixth Avenue and Tenth Street.

A statue of St. Joseph at St. Joseph Church in Dewitt

Due to rapid growth, the parish built a new church in 1853 at what is today Seventh Avenue and Tenth Street. The two lots included the church, rectory and school. A fire swept through the church in 1879. The parish had purchased land at Sixth Avenue and Fifth Street for a new school, but chose to build a new church with spires on that lot instead. Parishioners dedicated the church in December 1880 and renamed it St. Joseph.


St. Joseph Academy opened Jan. 10, 1890, along with a convent, at Sixth Avenue and Sixth Street. Fire destroyed the school in 1920. The parish purchased the old public school in 1925 for use as the Catholic school until construction of a new school in 1956.

On June 16, 2001, the parish launched a capital campaign, “Making Connections,” with a goal of $1.5 million for a new parish hall, gathering space, church offices, additional classrooms, library, computer lab and a way to connect the school and church buildings physically. Groundbreaking took place in 2003. Construction was completed in 2004.

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