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The History of the Catholic Parish of St. Joseph in Osceola, Wisconsin


The Village of Osceola is located on the St. Croix River, just a few miles below Intersate Park.  To take advantage of the power of the beautiful Cascade Falls, in the 1840's a sawmill was erected at this point on the river, and a little village soon grew up around it. 


Catholics were few and their spiritual needs were tended as well as could be by intinerant Franciscan priests, who, when in the territory, made their headquarters at the home of Dennis Brosnahan.


This situation continued until 1868 when the new Farmington parish of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was organized about six miles to the south, at which time Catholics in and around Osceola became affiliated with that parish.


Around 1910 it became apparent that the Osceola group, which included Catholics from the nearby towns of Dresser and Nye, should have their own parish organization, which could be tended as a mission parish from Farmington.  In the beginning, Mass was celebrated in the upstairs hall now occupied by the plumbing and heating firm of H.G. Stocker Co. 

In 1914 and 1915, four ideally located lots were acquired at 7th and Cheiftain Street and the original frame church was erected under the supervision of Father Michael Schanz. 


Thereafter, Mass was celebrated in Osceola twice each month until 1940 when parishioners were able to attend Mass in their own church every Sunday and Holy Day.


On January 7, 1940, a bell was raised into the tower and blessed by Monsigner John M. Owens of Hudson, Wisconsin.  In 1946 the church interior was decorated and in later years a kitchen was added to the basement as well as an oil heating unit.


In 1959 the Jensen home was purchased by the parish to serve as a rectory.  The first resident Pastor of St. Joseph Church was Father John Tomre. 


In 1968 Father Edward Cyz was appointed Pastor of the parish.  A committee was formed to study the needs of the parish.  All agreed that a definite need existed for new parish buildings.  The church committe and Pastor decided a multi-purpose building would be most practical at this time.  It would be used for church services as well as religious education classes and social activities.

To accommodate the growing congregation's needs, in 1986, an addition was added to the church that included offices and upgrades to the church's kitchen as well as additional bathroom facilities. 


These church buildings continue to serve the needs of the parish today.  Sheltering us as our Church community continues to worship, praise, pray, confess, adore and thank God in the three persons of Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one Body; Christ's Church here on earth.  

A new 7.5 acre parcel of land was purchased at the north edge of Osceola from John Schillberg.  Construction on the church center and rectory began on the new site on September 15, 1969.   The first Mass celebrated in the new Church Center took place on May 10, 1970.  An official dedication took place on October 4, 1970 with Bishop George A. Hammes officiating.  Once the new church center and rectory were paid for, plans began for the new church in the early months of 1980.   

Ground breaking for the new church was held July, 1981.  The blessing and laying of the Foundation Stone was held November 1, 1981 with Bishop Fliss officiating.  The first Mass in the current church was held on Easter weekend, 1982.  The official dedication was celebrated on August 8, 1982 with Bishop Raphael Fliss assisted by Father Edward Cyz.   

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