Saint Joseph Catholic Church, Hanover, PA, held its 150th Anniversary Year Closing Celebration on Sunday November 2, 2014 at the church and social hall on Grandview Road. Most Reverend Ronald W. Gainer, Bishop of the Harrisburg Diocese, led the parish faithful in Mass at 3:00PM concelebrated with current Pastor Monsignor James M. Lyons, former Pastor Reverend Joseph F. Gotwalt, current Parochial Vicar Reverend Stephen P. Kelly, and ten priests and deacons who currently serve or formerly served at the parish. The Mass was dedicated to the memory of the late Monsignor Robert Gribbin, long time pastor of the parish who passed away in December, 2013.

In his homily, Bishop Gainer reviewed the history of the parish from the Civil War era to the present focusing on the sacrifices made by those early clergy and parishioners who founded the parish in 1863. He reminded all present of the debt of gratitude owed these pioneering forefathers of the parish. The significance and appropriateness of holding this commemorative Mass on November 2, All Souls Day in the Catholic Church liturgy, was also noted.

Bishop Gainer was also the keynote speaker at the dinner which followed the Mass. He congratulated the Anniversary Committee on their success in organizing the year long anniversary celebration. Dan Ernst and Ron Smith were co-chairmen of the committee. The year of celebration started with a Mass on November 2, 2013; a Valentine Dinner and Auction Gala was held in February; in June, a Pilgrimage to Harrisburg to view the Stations of the Cross paintings that hung in the original Church on Baltimore Street from 1877 until its destruction in 1963.

In 1974, St. Joseph Parish built a new Church on Grandview Road in Hanover after years of using the elementary school gym on Baltimore Street for services. Later, in 1997, a Social Hall, Narthex, and Middle School were added to the GrandviewChurch.  In 2001, the Parish added a new AdministrationCenter. Many of the stain glass windows saved when the BaltimoreStreetChurch was razed were installed in the new Church, Narthex, Social Hall and AdministrationCenter, all on Grandview Road.

Also speaking at the closing dinner celebration was Sister Anne Myers, Congregational President of the Sisters of Saint Joseph who have served St, Joseph Parish since 1872. She recognized the efforts of the sisters who taught at the school and still serve the parish, many of whom were present.

Father Gotwalt spoke of his memories as he grew up a member of the church and served it as a “son of the parish” seminarian, priest, and finally pastor from 1998-2012. The sense of community that the parish afforded its members by its many spiritual, athletic, and social opportunities over the years was the recurring theme in these memories.

The evening ended with closing remarks from Monsignor Lyons and 150th Anniversary Committee Co-Chair Dan Ernst who thanked all who worked to make the year‘s events a success.


Here is a photo taken on Wednesday, July 30, 2014, when PA State Representative Will Tallman presented a Citation from the State of PA House of Representatives to St. Joseph Parish pastor, Msgr. James Lyons, in recognition of the 150th Anniversary of St. Joseph Parish in Hanover.  Also accepting the citation is Ron Smith, co-chairman of the St. Joseph Church 150th Anniversary Committee.



Music, singing, delicious food, and lots of FUN – all of these were present along with more than 125 “sociable” parishioners who made this event most memorable. The Potluck Dinner was attended by parish members of all ages including families with children.  Each household was asked to bring a home cooked dish to share.  The food was outstanding including special soups such as crab soup, tortilla soup, and white chicken chili.  There was a wonderful variety of salads, side dishes and vegetables as well as delicious main entrees such as lasagna, chicken casseroles, roast pork and others. 

A big surprise was the quality of the entertainment provided by St. Joseph parishioners Dr. Michael Rupp’s musical group, the Hernandez family, and Aubryanna and Josefine Tayman, all members of St. Joseph Parish.  Michael Rupp’s group, who perform at many parish events,  joyfully entertained musically and vocally.  The Bernie and DeSales Hernandez Family and a number of their seven children played musical instruments and sang beautifully from their album, Scripture For A Lifetime – Building Godly Character Through Scripture Memory Songs and their well-received children’s album, I’m Glad We’re Here!  The family performs annual concerts for Catholic Schools Week for St. Josseph School and other parishes as well as senior adult communities, nursing homes and personal care homes in the area. 

Aubryanna beautifully sang Amarilli, Mia Bella, Memory, Ave Maria, and Wishing You Were Here Again and received a standing ovation for her performance. Her seven year old sister, Josefine, sang Castle on a Cloud from the musical Les Miserables.  Both of the Tayman sisters are cantors at St. Joseph Church and have won awards while performing in local talent shows.

Topping off the evening was a fun game, Photo Match, in whichcontestants tried to match adult photos of 19 prominent parishioners with their infant/toddler photos.  Those who made the highest number of correct matches won a large size candy bar.  The players had a great time even though very few were successful in correctly matching more than 8 photos. 

Many attendees asked “When will we have the next Potluck Dinner?”  The answer is “It will be repeated and we’ll let you know when.”   


November 2, 2013 OPENNING WITH A MASS AT 5:00 PM

February 15, 2014 GALA AUCTION AT 6:00 PM

November 2, 2014 CLOSING MASS AT 3:00 PM WITH A DINNER AT 4:15 PM

Stations Images courtesy, State Museum, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission


Below are two prints that will be auctioned during the Anniversary Gala February 15, 2014. The Gala will feature a dinner, live auction and silent auction. Tickets will be on sale for $35.00 a person. We will have Corporate sponsor tables of 8 people. Here is the history of these paintings:  The Stations were painted by an Italian artist from Philadelphia between 1877 to 1880.  His name was Lorenzo Scattaglia and he also did some work in other churches in the area. He painted a fresco in St. Joseph Church in Emmitsburg, Md.  Our old church was built between 1877 and 1880.  Mr. Scattaglia was the decorator. He also painted a picture of the "Holy Family".  Our first Pastor, Fr. Emig, commissioned Mr. Scattaglia, who was paid $600, to paint the Stations.  Our old church was built for $20,000 in 1877.  The church was dedicated in 1880, the year the building was completed.  In 1908 Mr. Scattaglia came back to Hanover for the sole purpose of doing some touch-up work in the church plus working on the Stations and many other paintings in the church.  In 1963 our church was condemned by the State for being unsafe, so we needed to have it torn down.  We moved the Altar to the gym in the school and had Mass there until we built our new church on Grandview Road.  The Stations of the Cross were saved and stored in the basement of the old rectory.  In 1977 they were donated to the State Museum of Pa. by Monsignor Robert Gribbin and Mrs. Lois Misiti.  At that time the State Curator, Mr. Donald Winer had Mr. Stan Petrilak do the restoration of all 14 Stations at a cost of $20,000.  This work was done in 1978.  In 2013 due to our upcoming 150th Anniversary, contact was made with the State Museum requesting that we have images of all the Stations.  The images were put on a CD for our parish which we received in April of this year.

Some history on the church, Rectory and old school from Baltimore Street:  The old school was razed around 1950 when the new school opened.  The church was built in 1877 and razed in 1963. This is from a newspaper article from the Hanover Herald after the re-dedication.  Father Lyons commission Christina Huertas to do the oil painting of the old church and school on Baltimore Street for the 150th Anniversary.  This painting will be hung in the lobby of the Social Hall for everyone to see how our old church appeared.  This original painting on canvas is 24 x 36.  A 20 x 30 reproduction of this painting  will be auctioned off during the 150th Anniversary.