The first stirrings of Catholicism in West Liberty are noted in the time of Fr. William Emonds of Iowa City, according to a 1932 Catholic messenger Article. It was sometime in the 1800’s that the first Catholic Church was built in West Liberty, which was under the direction of Fr. Emonds. It was Fr. Duggan who built the second Catholic Church in West Liberty. We know it was dedicated in 1891 and caught fire and burned to the ground in 1946. An interesting aside from the Catholic Messenger article states that the parish was a growing one in the 1880’s, no doubt due to immigration.
The present St. Joseph was dedicated in 1950 with Fr. B.L Barnes as a pastor. In August 2006 St. Joseph dedicated their new Parish Life Center. Reflecting back on the Catholic Messenger article we can say once again St. Joseph’s is a growing parish, no doubt largely due to immigration. Whether immigration is from Europe, as in the past, or from Latin America as today, immigrants bring a strong faith life with them. When mixed with the faith nurtured from generations in the heartland of the United States, St. Joseph will continue to serve to build a stronger parish.