The cornerstone for Saint Joseph Church was laid in 1868 by a group of San Antonio's German Catholic Immigrants who wanted to worship and hear God's Word proclaimed and celebrated in their own language. Over the course of years the German Community constantly improved their Parish of St. Joseph and its buildings. In 1891, four bells with matched tones were purchased and consecrated. They were given the names of Joseph, Mary, Henry and Joseph, by their donors as was the German custom. The Gothic style building was without a steeple until 1898 when the now existing spire was erected to crown and complete the structure as it is today. Then in 1902, the beautiful stained glass windows were purchased for the unbelievable sum of $3,000, from the Emil Frei Art Glass Factory in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.
In 1945, a crisis arose when the Joske's Department Store wanted to purchase the Church and Rectory and grounds and use the land for its expansion program. The parishioners, however, voted unanimously not to sell their cherished Church, allowing it to remain as a strong sign of their Faith in the midst of a secularized, historic and cultural environment. As a result, St. Joseph Church stands today and is known as the "Jewel in the heart of San Antonio" close to the famed Alamo, and encircled as it is by the new RiverCenter Mall, Residencies and Hotels.
Presently, St. Joseph Parish (Downtown) serves a small, but active, multi-cultural faith-community of San Antonio's near Eastside, and, the many tourists and convention groups that frequent the city. Every Sunday morning you can hear hymns in Spanish as the Guadalupanas gather for worship at the 9:30 celebration of the Eucharist. On the second-Sunday of every month they are joined by a local Mariachi ensemble.
The Church is the home of the world renowned San Antonio Liederkranz. On the fourth-Sunday of the month, the San Antonio Liederkranz (founded in 1892) donate their stewardship of time and extraordinary talent to express their Faith through liturgical song; a variety of hymns are sung in Latin, German and English, at the 11:00 a.m. celebration of the Eucharist!
Since 1982, the Religious of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament have been entrusted with the Parish, where they continue to serve to this day. As a Religious-Apostolic Order, founded by St. Peter Julian Eymard, their mission is to assure that the Eucharist is celebrated in truth, thereby enabling the Faithful to grow in their communion with the Lord through Eucharistic Adoration; leading them to a commitment and renewal of their lives and assisting them in the renewal of life in their families and communities. The Blessed Sacrament Community assures Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament every weekday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon, and the priests are available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation every day from 11:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. (Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 11:55 a.m.)