St. Joseph’s parish – Farley

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Welcome to St. Joseph’s Parish – Farley

The History of St. Joseph’s Parish

The town of Farley and the parish of St. Joseph’s Church have a long, strong history of leading the local Catholics in support of community and God’s work.

As the outpost of Farley grew in the early 1850s, Mass was held in the homes of early Catholics such as Laurance McGuigan. As the railroad brought more Catholics to the area, by 1861 a church was needed. Being the first local church, parishioners attended the frame church from as far away as Hogansville (now Epworth), Centralia, Pleasant Grove, and Worthington. This frame building was quickly outgrown and in 1865 (close of the Civil War), a rock church was built for the imposing sum of $10,000. At the time it was the largest and grandest in Iowa outside of the Cathedral in Dubuque. This grand facility was located north of Farley and on the east side. Even as it was completed, some of the members questioned the wisdom of building so far from the center of Farley Junction as it was called.

As the rock church was located 1 mile outside of the town of Farley and several of the now older parishioners found it very inconvenient to fight the weather to get to mass, in 1912 the difficult decision to move the church site was decided. By this time there were 98 families in the congregation and they felt that it was time to grow the Church building, build a new school and add a parochial residence inside the town of Farley. It would be the first time in the state of Iowa that such an aggressive project would be undertaken. This was a monumental task to be done at the same time, yet the pioneering spirit of Farley and the support of the congregation members was tremendous. Once again Farley would show that its Catholic leadership would be a shining example to the surrounding community. In the span of 8 months Farley tore down the rock church (so that the rock could be used as foundation for the new brick church), built and dedicated the brick church, parochial home, and the school. Just as impressive, it was all paid for by the congregation in 18 months! These two aggressive goals that were met were used by priests throughout the Archdiocese as to what is possible when people choose to prioritize their Faith.

In 1956, St. Josephs parishioners added a modern handicap accessible school. The first class to graduate from the new facility was in 1958. This building housed the St. Joseph High School until it closed. For several years after the high school closed the Western Dubuque County Community School District rented the facility and held 9th grade classes there. Today the facility is used as a middle school for Seton Catholic.

While the 1912 school has been replaced, the Church and Rectory stand strong and proud as reminders of the solid foundation that Farley is built on.

Much of the solid foundation of Farley comes from the strong-willed German ancestry of the Kluesners, Schuellers and Simons that are prevalent at St. Josephs. So it is appropriate that Fr. John Ptacek brought with him an idea for a Julyfest. This church fundraiser is a take-off of Octoberfest with games, food, an auction, and fun for all. Wildly popular since its inception in July of 1991, it continues to be a source of pride and fellowship for the church community.

Today St. Joseph is a thriving congregation of approximately 600 families that continue to build on the legacy set forth by their ancestors. St. Joseph has many opportunities for the community to gather and share their life and faith. In addition to the Saturday and Sunday masses and Julyfest, annual events such as the Lenten Fish Fry and Thanksgiving Breakfast allow for young and old, new and longstanding members to share their day and make memories. St. Joseph is now a member of the St. Elizabeth Pastorate.

Parish Council Members

  • Beth Jarding
  • Stephanie Lake
  • Brad Kotz
  • Steve (Tonya) Kluesner
  • Toby Demmer
  • Breanna Lukes
  • Joe Demmer

Liturgy Committee

  • Dorothy Klostermann
  • Lynn Kluesner
  • Mary Kluesner
  • Sue Kraus
  • Breanna Lukes
  • Christine Murphy
  • Dorothy Schieltz
  • Connie Schueller



FACTS about the Pipe Organ at Farley

The Pipe Organ at St. Joseph, Farley

  • Was first played on January 1, 1915
  • Was made by Wagnerin & Weickhardt Co. of Milwaukee
  • Originally cost $3,000 (approximately $75,000 in 2018 dollars)
  • Half of the cost was covered by Andrew Carnegie’s company on the condition that Farley cover the other half
  • It has two keyboards, with approximately 500 pipes, ranging in size from six feet to about the size of a pencil
  • It could be pumped by hand before electric blower—and electricity—were installed

Sources:  “The Story of a Parish,” by the Farley Area Historical Society; the Organ Historical Society online database (pipeorgandatabase.org)

Farley Hall Rental

The rental fee is $50. There is a deposit of $75.

Contact Lynne McDermott at 563.876.5540 or email [email protected] for more information.

Cemetery Board

  • Tom Simon    563-744-3134 or 563-599-9183
  • Jerry Jasper   563-542-3707

Cemetery Guidelines

  • Please contact the cemetery board through the St. Elizabeth Pastorate Office at 563-876-5540 with questions or concerns or to purchase lots.
  • Headstones must follow local guidelines.  Prior approval from the cemetery board must be sought before a headstone may be placed on the gravesite.
  • No planting of permanent trees, shrubs, bushes, etc. or any other types of landscaping without prior approval from cemetery board.
  • Decorations are allowed year-round if set directly on the headstone or cement foundation.  Please place items at your own risk.  Cemetery board does not monitor the grounds and cannot be responsible for any lost, stolen, or damaged items.
  • Flowers or decorations not attached to monuments may be placed on grave during the following approved holidays:  Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, All Souls Day and Christmas Day. These decorations may stay up for one week prior and one week past the holiday.
  • Any decorations placed directly in the ground may not go beyond a 10-inch radius of the headstone during the approved holiday decorating times.  All decorations must be removed at proper times.  Items not removed will be discarded.
  • Shepherd hooks are to be placed in the cement foundation if it is to be a permanent decoration, only one per headstone, and not more than 4 feet high.
  • If you have a special occasion (birth date, anniversary) and wish to place additional decorations during a non-approved holiday time, please speak to the cemetery board prior to the date for consideration.
  • Without notice, cemetery board reserves the right to prohibit or remove from lots or graves, any articles that are dead, faded, broken, create a safety hazard, cause additional maintenance burdens, or any articles not given proper prior approval.


Click the link below for the Monument Regulations for St. Joseph Cemetery.
Monument Regulations

St. Joseph Altar and Rosary Society 2023-2024

President……………………………..Kristin Simon

Vice President………………………Ashley Wolfe

Secretary……………………………..Christine Murphy

Prayer Request

may we pray for you?

Fr. Michael Schueller


Fr. Scott Boone

Sacramental Priest


Remembering always that our main mission is to proclaim the Gospel to all, the St. Elizabeth Pastorate parishes seek to support the vitality of all its member parishes. The St. Elizabeth Pastorate’s mission is to nurture the Catholic faith among all parishioners, while respecting the individuality of all member parishes.

St Joseph, Farley

(563) 876-5540


202 Second Ave SE
Farley, IA 52046
United States

St Joseph, Farley

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