St. Joseph Catholic Church in Andale, KS

Our parish

In 1885, the railroad came through the area and two settlers, George Anderson and J. Will Dale, chartered a new town next to the railroad.  They named the town Andale, a combination of their last names.  The Andale area was soon settled predominately by German Catholics.  At first, the settlers had to attend church in St. Mark.  However, with the continual influx of German settlers, they soon saw the need for their own church, and St. Joseph parish was formed as a mission of St. Mark's parish.  The first small frame church was erected at a cost of $1,474 and on December 21, 1901, Bishop John J. Hennessey and Monsignor Bernard Schmiehausen, pastor of St. Mark, said the first Mass.

On February 14, 1891, Father George Meyer became the first pastor and St. Joseph was no longer a mission.  Father Meyer oversaw the construction of a rectory and a cemetery.  Father Meyer died of tuberculosis in 1898 at the age of 35 and became the first priest buried in the cemetery he helped establish.

Father Leonard Epp was appointed pastor in June 1898.  He oversaw the building of a parochial school including living quarters for the nuns.  He also saw the need to expand the little church by adding two wings.  A frame school was built in 1901 to house four classrooms and house the two religious sisters.  Father Epp resigned in 1904  because of failing health.

Father John Loevenich became the third pastor of St. Joseph.  During his tenure, the parish undertook the building of the current red brick church.  Unfortunately, Father Loevenich fell ill before he could see the church finished, and had to resign.

Monsignor Bernard Schmiehausen was assigned to St. Joseph and he oversaw the completion of the new church.  Once again, Bishop Hennessey and Monsignor Schmiehausen said the first Mass in a new church at St. Joseph.  The church was built at a cost of a little more than $50,000 and at the time, was the tallest structure in the county outside of Wichita.

Saint Joseph has been blessed with many priests.  These included Father John Grueter, Monsignor Joseph Klug, Monsignor Edward Albers, Father Robert Pepe, Father Reinhard Eck, Father Joseph Gile and Father Ben Nguyen.  The current pastor is Father Daryl Befort.

Mother Nature has presented the parish with its share of challenges.  In 1917, Andale was struck by a devastating tornado.  While the church, school and new rectory were spared major damage, the tornado took the lives of 13 parishioners.  In 1981, a major storm damaged the steeple, with repairs costs over $110,000, more than double what the original church cost.  Another storm in 1990 blew out three of the stained glass windows on the west.  Luckily there were pictures of the windows and original glass, and the windows were restored.

The parish of Saint Joseph contains many descendants of the original settlers from over 125 years ago.  In addition, the parish has added many new people who have enriched the lives of everyone.