St. Joseph Catholic Church – Honey Creek is located in Spring Branch, Texas, about 35 miles north of San Antonio. This beautiful, historic, south Texas sanctuary still echoes of a simpler time and peaceful days gone by. The church has gone through several transitional rebirths with many dedicated priests and parishioners.
The Honey Creek area had regional settlement as early as the 1850’s, but records show that five German Catholic families moved onto the lands surrounding the unnamed creek in the 1860's. According to local lore, as these pioneer families were constructing their homes, their children were sent to the nearby creek for drinking water. Upon arriving at the creek, they discovered a large number of honey bees swarming above it and families decided to name their community Honey Creek. Father Kossbiel was the circuit priest who is credited for encouraging the settlers to build a church, and saying the first Mass for St. Joseph on August 20, 1876.
Father Henry Gerlach helped facilitate the move of St. Joseph away from its origins to our present site, culiminating in the construction of a new wooden church on the New Braunfels–Boerne Road in 1892. In 1898 Father Virgilius Draessel, a Franciscan priest, became the first resident priest & pastor. He was pastor for 35 years and was responsible for the construction of several buildings on the parish grounds. Some of his accomplishments were the “little” chapel built in 1904 on the hill above the Church cemetery, and the stone church (now referred to as the chapel), which was dedicated in 1912. St. John’s Men’s Society erected the parish hall for Fr. Draessel’s Golden Jubilee between 1922 and 1924.
Some of the priests that served as pastors from the fifties to the seventies were: Fr. Patrick Palmer, Fr. Hilscher, Fr. Henry Hug and Fr. Aloysius Leopold. In 1974 Msgr. Bernard Mullaney became pastor and served until 1986 (The rustic Hill of the Cross was built during his tenure). Msgr. Terence Nolan served as pastor from 1986 to 1994 and Msgr. James Janish from 1995 to 2007. During Msgr. Janish’s tenure, what now serves as the parish church was built in 2006.
Today, we are a richly diverse, multi-cultural community blessed to have Father Jimmy Drennan (June 2007) as pastor, with his leadership and pastoral care, to guide our parish towards the future… just as the small German settlement did in 1876.
The first Mass was celebrated here and the parish was named St. Joseph Church. Fire destroyed the church when it was less than a year old.
This church was built of cedar logs and sat a few hundred yards uphill from the original St. Joseph Cemetery (as was the case of the first wooden church). At some point it was disassembled and reconstructed within a barn on Johnny Gass Ranch (former Deacon, now deceased).
The oldest tombstone is that of Johan Adam Moos, who was baptized by Father Kossbiel on May 25, 1876, and died as a young child in 1877. The cemetery is located off of Park Road near the site of the original wooden churches.
The Kneupper family built this as a private chapel in 1878 and it now stands on the property of our late Deacon, Johnny Gass.
With the move to our present site on the New Braunfels – Boerne Road in the early 1890’s, Father Gerlach oversaw it's construction in 1892.
With gravesites dating from 1890, this second cemetery was laid out in conjunction with the relocation of St. Joseph from its original Honey Creek site. It is located up the hill from our day chapel.
Father Draessel constructed this chapel in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception (1854), in the 1904–1905 timeframe. This intimate sanctuary has one pew, a statue of the Virgin Mary, can hold three worshipers, and overlooks the cemetery and the beautiful surrounding hill country.
What is now known as the chapel served as the primary church until 2006. The construction of the chapel involved St. Joseph’s parishoners under the direction of our first resident priest, Fr. Virgilius Draessel, and was a major undertaking spanning several years.
A new Church and title bring our parish into the new millennium under the leadership of Father Jimmy Drennan.
When the rock church was completed, the old 1892 wooden church was used as St. Joseph’s parochial school; Father Draessel called it St. Anthony. The Sisters of Divine Providence assisted in the parish from 1913 to 1933, and the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament served until 1950.
The Hill of the Cross is a beautiful tree lined path which consists of fourteen Stations of the Cross. Built in 1985, it was constructed by members of the parish out of surrounding native materials and provides a quiet place of prayer and solitude to its visitors. It can be reached by driving up the road next to the cemetery.
Completed June 2012, The Labyrinth of Hope is set in the center of the Hill of the Cross. A labyrinth is a path of prayer and a place of contemplation. This labyrinth was inspired by the tragic death and entry into eternal life of two-year-old David Michael Siller. His parents and grandparents are hopeful that those who have lost a loved one will find the labyrinth experience a reminder of the healing reunion that will come with Resurrection.