Parish History


The Spirit which like the wind blows wherever it wills and manifests in those born of the Spirit (Jn 3:8), made it possible that different but wonderful and joyous families and individuals came together a long time ago to form this community of God’s people, which was made a parish in 1875. They pulled their resources, time talent and treasures together to form one big fellowship and family, in the manner of the 1st Christian Community in Acts of the Apostles: “The disciples were of one heart and mind and each brought from their resources for the good of all” (Act 4:32). 

Since 1875 when the parish was founded, tremendous progress has been noted down the years, especially with the building of St Joseph’s Catholic Church at 10 Cherry Street, Bluffton. Later, the Church cite was moved from downtown Bluffton to a better and more spacious outskirt, through the generous donation of the land by E. J. Schaeffer & family, where a new Church was built. This new Church is now at 1300 N. Main Street, Bluffton, and was built and dedicated in 1966. Then in 1999, there was the remodeling and addition of the Religious Education classrooms, a gym and offices. This had helped to modernize the structure of our parish Church, and to serve the Christian idea of the Church as a family.

It is of note that the parish started having resident pastors from 1920, and these great priests with indomitable spirit, that have kept the parish on the path of progress include the following:

Resident Pastor Years
Fr. Nicholas A. Keller 1920-1926
Msgr. Charles F. Girardot 1926-1929
Msgr. John A. Bapst 1929-1935
Fr. Paul A. Anderson 1935-1942
Fr. Aloysius M. Phillips 1942-1947
Fr. Michael J. Kelner 1947-1951
Fr. John H. Roesler 1951-1955
Fr. Robert L. Traub 1955-1968
Msgr. James P. Conroy 1968-1981
Fr. Eugene A. Koers 1981-1991
Fr. Stephen E. Colchin 1991-1997
Fr. Lawrence A. Kramer 1997-2003
Fr. Dale A. Bauman 2003-2009
Fr. Francis C. Chukwuma 2009-2013
Msgr. Pius Ilechukwu 2013-2018
Fr. David Violi 2018-present

We recognize also that down the ages, countless individuals and families had in no small measures contributed immensely to the progress and growth of this parish since its inception. We cannot list them out here because of their number but we remain indebted to their selflessness and generosity with their energy, time, talent, treasures and services. To them that have passed on, may God’s eternal peace be granted them, and to the current parish family members, we pray for God’s abundant blessing on all, as you continue to contribute to our parish wellbeing and progress.

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Saint Joseph Catholic Church
1300 North Main Street
Bluffton, Indiana 46714
(260) 824-1380
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