St. Joseph Catholic Church
History of St. Joseph Catholic Church
The following information was taken from
"The Catholic Diocese of Wichita Commemorates Its First 100 Years"
The first house of worship was purchased in 1927 by Father Phillip Bartoccetti, OSB, at a cost of $1,350. It had been built three years earlier by the baptists. St. Joseph's church was "the reward of the constant and patient efforts of Father Phillip", according to the Arma historian. He gathered the children into the local movie theatre every Sunday for three years to instruct them in their Faith. In 1929 the Capuchin Fathers assumed responsibility for the parish. A summer school began in August, 1931, conducted by Father Vergil, assisted by two St. Joseph Sisters and a lay volunteer, Rena Anselmi-Goodman. It was Mrs. Goodman who continued to teach and prepare children for the First Communion for 50 years. Mary Burns, a postulant who left Arma in 1934 to enter the Sisters of St. Joseph, returned to St. Joseph's to celebrate her golden jubilee last year. The 1930s also saw the establishment of a parish hall which has since been enlarged. It was the church from Arcadia which was purchased and moved to Arma for the sum of $80.
The status of St. Joseph's changed in 1950 when a permanent pastor was assigned after the many devoted years by the Capuchin priests. Some of these were Fathers Damian Reick, Timothy Gattschalk, Flavian Meis, Alvin Werth, Vergil Kuhn, Hugh Rauwolf, Colman Schulte, and Jordan Hammel. Father Clifford Landis was first pastor. Volunteers under the supervision of Father John Reinkemeyer undertook the building of a new parish plant after the destruction of the hall by fire. First Mass was celebrated in the new building on Christmas Eve, 1964 in the new location just east of U.S. 69 and Arma Bypass.
St. Joseph's was blessed with the vocation of Father Joseph Gorentz who was ordained in 1966 and died in January, 1979.