2013-01-17 / Front Page

St. Joseph's church marks 150-year milestone

Erik Skindrud / GAZETTE EDITOR

Parishioners filled the sanctuary at St. Joseph's Catholic Church on Friday, Jan. 18 to mark the 150th anniversary of the church's dedication. Leading the mass was Bishop Armando Xavier Ochoa of the Diocese of Fresno.

The ceremony took place precisely 150 years after the church was dedicated by Archbishop Joseph Alemany in 1863. 

Bishop Ochoa referenced the parish's long history in his Friday homily.

"The spirit of many a circuit-riding priest must reside, not only in this church's cemetery, but in these very walls," Ochoa said. 

The small church was filled to its capacity of about 125 people for the commemorative mass. An anniversary banquet followed at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds.

Other anniversary events are planned for the weeks and months to come. Another special mass will take place on March 19--the Feast Day of St. Joseph. 

As the church heads into the second half of its second century, Fr. Steve Bulfer is leading a drive to update the church's 1950s-era landscape design. 

Over the past year, the plans have generated some disagreement among parishoners. Some have said that a labyrinth to be rendered in paving blocks is inappropriate. Others have concerns about how other features will affect the historical integrity of the church. 

The project will be discussed at a county planning commission meeting that begins at 9 a.m. this Friday, Jan. 25 at the county government center on Bullion Street.

Bishop Armando Xavier Ochoa of the Diocese of Fresno (left) joins Fr. Steve Bulfer of St. Joseph's Catholic Church after the parish's 150th-anniversary mass on Jan. 18. Photo: Erik Skindrud / The GAZETTEBishop Armando Xavier Ochoa of the Diocese of Fresno (left) joins Fr. Steve Bulfer of St. Joseph's Catholic Church after the parish's 150th-anniversary mass on Jan. 18. Photo: Erik Skindrud / The GAZETTE

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