On April 18, Pope Benedict XVI will meet with leaders of various Christian denominations at an ecumenical gathering at Saint Joseph’s Church in the Yorkville neighborhood of New York.
This parish was established in 1873 to meet the spiritual needs of the growing number of German immigrants who had settled in the area. The parish grew out of a community worshipping in the chapel of Saint Joseph’s Orphanage, established on the Upper East Side to give the orphans access to fields, forests, and fresh air.
From its earliest days, the parish emphasized the education of children, using a hall in the orphanage. By the time a school opened in 1880, the student body numbered 500.
Construction of the present church building dates to 1894. The congregation had outgrown the previous building.
Though now the spiritual home to Catholics of many nationalities, Saint Joseph’s remains a special place for German Catholics in New York.
Source: Saint Joseph’s Church.