St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
St. Joseph’s Catholic Church at No. 29 Rumsey Street, Grand Rapids, Michigan, was organized in 1887, and Rev. Henry Frencken, the present pastor, placed in charge of the congregation. February 10, 1889, the edifice was dedicated by the Right Rev. Henry Joseph Richter, bishop of the diocese of Grand Rapids, and the communicants at that time numbered about seventy families. The parochial school, conducted in the church building, was opened in September, 1889, the priest’s house erected in 1891, and an assembly hall in 1897. Although not the most pretentious church edifice in the city, St. Joseph’s is complete and convenient in all its appointments.
Rev. Henry Frencken, the devout and earnest pastor of St. Joseph’s, was born in Bois le Duc, Holland, 5 March, 1860, and his preliminary studies were pursued in his native land, and his theological course was had at the American college at Louvain, Belgium, where he graduated in 1887, was ordained, and the same year came to the United States, and was here at once placed in charge of the congregation of St. Joseph. The sermons and lectures here are delivered in the language of the people of Holland, of which nation the members of the congregation are natives or descendants of natives. Father Frencken has made two visits to Europe since he became pastor of St. Joseph’s – first, in 1892, when he passed six months in visiting his parents and in continental travel, and secondly, in 1899, when in February, he again visited his old home and passed four months in travel, on this occasion visiting Rome, where he had the honor of an audience with the Pope. July 3, he again returned to his beloved flock of St. Joseph’s and resumed his pastoral labors, which have been more than ordinarily successful. Father Frencken’s parents are still living in Holland, where he has also a brother, who is likewise in the ministry of the Catholic church, and he has also two brothers in the ministry of the church in the United States – Rev. Charles, of Spring Valley, Illinois, and Rev. H., of Seattle. Washington.
St. Joseph’s school was taught the first year by lay teachers, but the following year the Dominican Sisters took charge, and three of these still conduct the school under the supervision of the pastor. The attendance has increased from forty pupils the first year to one hundred at the present time, and though no language save the English is taught it is called the "Holland" school. The course of study embraces all branches necessary to entrance upon collegiate work.
Assembly hall is used for school entertainments, the meeting of sodalities, etc., and is nicely furnished and arranged for the purposes intended, and is supplies with ample seating capacity. The Altar society numbers seventy-five members, and the C.M.B.A. branch, No. 74, has a membership of forty. All the buildings adjoin each other on Rumsey street, and the parish is in a most flourishing condition, greatly due to the able ministration and good management of its accomplished pastor.
Created: 28 April 2006