Parish History


In 1908, the Slovak people of Tacoma, WA sought and obtained permission to build Saint Joseph Catholic Church from The Most Reverend Edward J. O'Dea, then Bishop of Seattle. After many meetings of the future parishioners of St. Joseph, they decided to purchase lots that were centrally located in Tacoma. On April 7, 1908, the lots were purchased on 34th and Tacoma Avenue for $2500.


After purchasing the lots, finances had to be settled  before the building of the church could begin. By the spring of 1911, the lots had been paid off and money had been collected for the building of the church. The construction of St. Joseph began. Due to the zeal of the Slovak people, the future parishioners dug the basement and laid the foundation themselves. Day after day and night after night, when they were finished working in the factories and mills, young and old spent their evening hours on the building of the church.


Bishop O'Dea appointed Rev. Aloysius Mlinar as the first pastor. Together with the people, he helped build the church. The final cost of the building of the church came to $20,000. On May 19, 1912, St. Joseph Catholic Church was officially dedicated by Bishop O'Dea. Fr. Mlinar served the people of St. Joseph until 1913.


St. Joseph Catholic Church 1935


St. Joseph Catholic Church 1936


In 1935, the stained glass windows were purchased. The windows were a special addition for the Silver Jubilee of the parish. On May 18, 1936, a High Mass was offered for all the deceased members of the parish. On May 19, 1936, the actual day of the Silver Jubilee celebration, a High Mass of thanksgiving was offered at 9:00 AM. That evening an all-parish banquet was held. The Most Reverend Gerald Shaughnessy S.M. S.T.D., Bishop of Seattle, the Rt. Rev. Abbot Lambert Burton, O.S.B. of St. Martin's Abbey and twenty-five priests from Tacoma and neighboring communities joined the pastor, Fr. Joseph Hayostek, and the parishioners of St. Joseph to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the church.


Bishop Gerald Shaughnessy


Silver Jubilee Celebration 1936


Fr. Hayostek celebrated his 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood on May 25, 1950 at St. Joseph with a Solemn High Mass. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Thomas A. Connolly, D.D. , J.C.D., Bishop of Seattle presided. Fr. Hayostek was the celebrant; Fr. Albert H. Allard was deacon; and Fr. Martin Duggan was sub-deacon.


On April 21 and 22, 1961, St. Joseph celebrated its 50th Anniversary. Fr. Hayostek told The Tacoma News Tribune, "The church, believe it or not, appears exactly as it did 50 years ago. It's 12-inch solid brick." On April 22, Archbishop Connolly presided at a Solemn High Mass in honor of the chuch's 50th anniversary.


Saint Joseph Catholic Church 2016


St. Joseph Catholic Church 2016


In 2015, Archbishop J. Peter Sartain invited the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter to St. Joseph Catholic Church. For the fist time in over twenty years, the parishioners of St. Joseph have been assigned their own pastor, Fr. Michael Stinson, FSSP. The assignment of an FSSP priest has renewed the offering of the traditional Latin Mass at a parish that was built when this form of the Mass was the norm. We are thankful to Archbishop Sartain for keeping St. Joseph's doors open and hope to bring greater glory to God.


"Now the way to reach Christ is not hard to find: it is the Church. Rightly does Chrysostom inculcate: 'The Church is thy hope, the Church is thy salvation, the Church is thy refuge.' It was for this that Christ founded it, gaining it at the price of His blood, and made it the depositary of His doctrine and His laws, bestowing upon it at the same time an inexhaustible treasury of graces for the sanctification and salvation of men."

~ Pope St. Pius X ~