The Daily Appeal - Sunday, April 5, 1896, p5

Our Churches and Their Pastors

St. Joseph's Church

    Regarding its past, scarcely anything I think could be added to the neat article on the subject in the special number of the Appeal, June 10, 1894.

    In that article it was stated that the first Catholic missionaries who visited Marysville were Fathers Acker, Anderson and Ingraham, who labored here in 1851 and 1852.  In September, 1852, Father Peter Magagnotto, a member of the Passionist Order, commenced his labors for the formation of a regularly organized congregation and church.  Chiefly from his own purse he erected a wooden church on the north side of Seventh street, between C and D.  Father Peter, as he was lovingly called, endeared himself not only to his own congregation, but to all classes of citizens by his piety and goodness.  He died about twenty-five years ago in Mexico, still laboring in the service of the Master.

    This church was dedicated March 20, 1853, and served as a place of worship for two years.  The corner-stone of the present church was laid September 16, 1855 by Archbishop Alemany.  In 1861, the Vicariate-Apostolic of Marysville was founded, and the saintly Right Rev. E. O'Connell was its first Vicar-Apostolic, and St. Joseph's church, his pro-cathedral.  It even remained so until his resignation, although, in the meantime the Vicariate-Apostolic of Marysville had been merged into the diocese of Grass Valley.  In 1865 an addition of forty feet was made to the west end of the edifice, and the tower and interior were finished.

    Of late years considerable work has been done upon it, both interiorily and exteriorily.  But it can be safely said that not a timber has been put into it, nor a nail driven, that was not badly needed.

    Perhaps the only work done that was not absolutely necessary was the frescoing of the ceiling and painting of the interior.  It was, however, a matter of absolute necessity to repair the plastering and stucco-work on the ceiling; and it was considered a good opportunity to do some embellishment and painting on the ceiling and walls.  It is now an ornament to the church, a credit to the painters (home talent), who did it, and a source of just pride and pleasure to the congregation and city.

    At present the exterior of St. Joseph's church is receiving a thorough renovation and painting, which will give it an imposing and handsome appearance, and make it an ornament to that end of town.

    Within the last year or so the basement has been improved into a good comfortable hall for the catechism classes, society meetings and literary societies.  And in it also is an immense stove, which by a very simple contrivance is made to heat the body of the church, and warms the members of the congregation on cold winter mornings.

    There are many other improvements which we would like to see done, for instance on the channal, windows and pictures of the Way of the Cross.  However, we will wait for better times, as we do not wish to burden the people with anything except what is absolutely necessary.

    Of course the improvements done have cost a great deal of money.  The last account rendered to the people for improvements amounted to over $8,000, but the indebtedness now remaining is not very large, and can, we think, be easily handled.

    And surely, if people fix up their dwellings and places of business, as they ought, how much more ought we not to make respectable the house of God, who gives us all.  So much for the financial and temporal condition of St. Joseph's church.  Now a word as to its spiritual condition and its efficiency as an organization for the moral instruction of its members.

    And there is no better criterion for that purpose than attendance at Divine Worship and Sacraments, and judging by that St. Joseph's church is in a flourishing and prosperous condition, and to its prosperous spiritual condition and genuine and unaffected Christian piety of its members under God it may be attributed to the Sisters of Notre Dame, who have had the education of its girls from their childhood.  The thorough and efficient instruction in the Christian doctrine is the very foundation of all morality, and that is most earnestly sought, to be given both by the Sisters and a corps of teachers, who most kindly assist the pastors in that duty.

    Regarding our organized societies, first of all by right of seniority and age, comes St. Joseph's Society.  Its object is the care of and necessary repairs to the church and presbytery, that is, in addition to the spiritual and temporal advantages to each individual member.  It is generally composed of the older men of the congregation.

    The Young Men's Institute, whose object is for the mutual aid and benevolence, and the moral and intellectual improvement of its members is generally composed of the younger men of the congregation, although older ones are allowed in as honorary and associate members.

    The Altar Society, whose object is the cleanliness and adornment of the altar is composed of both the male and female members of the congregation.

    The Ladies' Relief Society, whose object is the material relief, not only of deserving members of the congregation but of any person deserving of their help.

    Lastly, the "Bishop Manogue Reading Circle," whose object is the intellectual and mental improvement of its members by studies in history, literature, etc.

    It is mainly composed of the younger members of the congregation who have literary tastes.  It was founded by the Rev. S. B. Hedges on the occasion of his last visit here.  And it is to be hoped that every member of the congregation who may have literary tastes will join it. 

    Along with all these societies, both for the young and old and middle-aged, for temporal and spiritual advantage, there can be no doubt but with the blessings of God, St. Joseph's church and congregation will be for the future, as it has been for the past, prosperous, and give a moral help in the general community.

    But while congratulating ourselves on our prosperous condition and prospects, there is one thing which I cannot pass over.  It is this, to the generation that has passed away, we owe our church and whatever we have, under God; but it is very sad to see and to say that whilst they have given us, we may say everything, we, the present generation, leave their poor defenceless bodies in our cemeteries outside our levees. They are there at the mercy of the surging waters in winter and spring; and liable to be swept in course of time to the ocean.

    And what is true of St. Joseph's church and congregation is true of every other church and congregation in our city.  And in this connection I can not but thank the Appeal, for their kindly mention of the same matter in the columns of your esteemed paper.

                                                                                                                        M. COLEMAN, Rector - D. MORGAN, Assistant Rector