Over 115 years ago, in 1886, the first St. Joseph's Church was built in Hammonton, New Jersey. After six years as a mission church, it had become a church and parish on its own. St. Joseph's began as a mission of St. Nicholas Church in Egg Harbor City, NJ. The Roman Catholic Church was already well established in both nearby Egg Harbor City and in Pleasant Mills when the need for a mission was felt in Hammonton. Father Joseph Esser, pastor of St. Nicholas Church, opened the Hammonton mission in 1880.
The first Mass was celebrated in the home of Lawrence W. Cogley on Bellevue Avenue. With the donation of a piece of property on North Third Street by Judge Richard J. Byrnes, construction began on a new church in 1884. In June of 1901, Bishop James McFaul, the Bishop of Trenton, asked the Fathers of the Pius Society of Missions (now known as the Society of the Catholic Apostolate-Pallotine Fathers and Brothers) to take charge of the Church of St. Joseph. A meeting of the Board of Trustees in the St. Joseph's Rectory, held June 30, 1919, had empowered Most Reverend Thomas Walsh, Bishop of Trenton, to execute a contract for a new and larger church. With much care and planning, at a cost of $21,150, the new church, of early Romanesque style, was duly erected on a site next to the original church. In September of 1964, Father Schimizzi announced that St. Joseph's would be building a new church on its present site on the corner of Third and French Streets. In the interim, while demolition of the old buildings and construction of the new was in process, the services were held in the building at Third and Pleasant Streets which had been purchased in 1959. On May 23, 1964, the members of the parish came out in full force to celebrate the dedication of their new church. From a tentative and difficult beginning, St. Joseph's has established itself as a lasting and enduring house of God.
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