:: Our St Joseph :: A Flash Back
Birth of St.Joseph's Church

St. Joseph's Church
, Vepery, Chennai - 7 was born on 19th March 1912. Thanks to the efforts of the visionary Rev. Fr.J.Meyer S.S.J., St. Joseph's Church was planned. He found no better place than the vast compound where the New Town Catholic Boys' School on Vepery Hight Road was situated.

He made up his mind to build the church there and entrusted its construction to Messrs, Enrigh and T.Pereira,  Engineer and Architect respectively.

The foundation stone was laid on 5th October 1907 by the first Arch Bishop of Madras, Dr.T.Colgan. Fr.Meyers could not complete this project due to lack of funds. It was his successor Rev. Fr. Fruytier S.S.J who relentlessly carried on the construction making a few changes in the original plan. Dr. Allen, the Arch Bishop of Madras, blessed the Church on the 19th March 1912.

St. Joseph ‘s becomes A Parish:
St. Joseph's Parish was carved out of St. Andrews on the 1st August 1930 by a decree of Arch Bishop E.Mederlet, SDB with Fr.J.Mccormack as its Parish Priest (1930-1936).

Rev. Fr. E.Dabove (1936-1942) Rev. Fr. E. Dabove succeeded Fr.Mccormack. He not only extended the parochial house but also provided the Church with more pews and fans.

Rev.Fr.A.. Hawelka (1942-1954)
On  8th Feb.2 1942 Fr. Hawelka SDB who had been the Asst. Parish Priest took charge as the Parish Priest. Fr. Hawelka remodeled the two gates to suit the church design and formed the altar boys society. Fr.B.Rajappa, Fr.A. Seeber and Fr.P.M. Mani were Asst. parish Priests during Fr. Hawelka's tenure. Fr. Seeber is remembered even today fo having organised a boys' choir and being instrumental in starting the Childrens;s Mass.

Rev. Fr. Peter J. Lobo (1954-1962)
Rev. Fr. Peter Lobo beautified the church and looked into the well being and betterment of his flock. There was almost nothing which had not received his close attention and care.

Rev. Fr. S. Arulappa (1962-1968)
He was a good and understanding pastor, and was easily accessible to all the members of his flock. During his period the parochial house was enlarged with additional rooms.

The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes was erected by him with the financial assistance of late Mr. Ratnam. The Don Bosco Middle School was also remodeled during his period. Rev. Fr.S.Arullappa left our Parish as the Arch Bishop of Hyderabad.

Rev. Fr. P.C. Balaswamy (1968-1974)
He evinced keen interest in the church services and liturgical functions. He look great care to develop the church and school. It was he who renovated St. Antony's Chapel, Periamet. He became the Bishop of Nellore in 1974.

Rev. Fr. P.T. Arulappa (1974-1975)
During his short tenure he renovated the church and made it very attractive. It was he who build the second floor over the Seeber's Block of the Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School.
 
Rev. Fr. John Pillaveetil (1975-1978)
He was a man of compassion and courage. He raised funds through music concerts and built a three storey block for the Anglo Indian School. His love for the poor and the downtrodden is remembered even today. He shunned publicity and never took any credit for what he did in the service of God.

Rev. Fr. A.J. Stanislaus (1978-1981)
He was a great missionary and a good pastor. His close associate Rev. A. Machado S.J. a renowned scholar and educationist who as then one of the joint secretaries of the Catholic Educational Council, assisted Fr. Stanislaus in school administration. Fr. Stanislaus renovated very successfully St. Joseph's Church in a record time. The Sanctuary was beautified with ceramic tiles. He started the construct work of a two soreyed new block to house the primary school and to provide additional class rooms for the Higher Secondary School. Fr. Stanislaus attributed the success of his schemes entirely to St. Joseph.

Rev. Fr. M. Antoniswamy (1981-1989)
He assumed charge as Parish Priest in June 1981. He was a sympathetic pastor who was always sensitive to the spiritual needs of his flock. He distinguished himself as a builder, able administrator and a good pastor. He raised the compound wall of the church and he also built the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes near the entrance of the church.

He encouraged the activities of the society  of St. Vincent-de-Paul. St. Joseph's Dispensary which catered to the medical needs of the poor and downtrodden was started by him He also instituted a fund to help the people who were too poor to bury their dead. There was tremendous growth in the schools of the parish during his tenure.

Rev. Fr.Louis (1989-1996)
Being a ardent devotee of St. Joseph Fr. Louis could achieve an all round development in St Joseph's campus. The roof of the church was mended and the old tiles wre replaced. He provided more facilities for the faithful to participate in the services. He converted St. Joseph's Hall into class rooms and constructed the auditorium. The basket ball court which is being used by our students today was laid by Rev. Louis.

Rev. Fr. Stanly Sebastian (1996-2003)
The seven years of his dedicated service to god and to the people of God in this parish was marked by an unmistakable simplicity and his sensitivity to the problems of the people. The interiors he provided for the auditorium, some of the evergreen trees which he planted in the campus the renovation carried out inside the church, his love for music, his concern for the needy will ever remain in the hearts of the people. He laid Kadapa slabs around the church and some parts of the school to provide a dust free environment.

Rev. Fr. Jose V.Thomas 2003 - 2009
Ever since Fr. Jose took charge he has been trying his very best to bring about a turnaround in this community of St. Joseph's . Anybody, who has a look at the campus, the church and the school is sure to be impressed by what (s) he sees and experiences.

The history of Joseph's has been one of  progress and development. Each priest who has been in the campus has contributed something or other to the development of the church and the institutions attached to the church. If these achievements have been possible it is because of the patronage of St. Joseph who has been guiding and inspiring these men of God.

May God Bless this Parish abundantly.
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St. Joseph's Church
No.31, Vepery High Road,
Vepery, Chennai - 600007.
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