The Shrine of St. Joseph is a ministry of the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity. The Missionary Servants appoint a Director of the Shrine as well as other priests and brothers to staff, manage programs and oversee its mission and operation. Currently Fr. Dennis Berry, S.T. is the Director - he is assisted by other lay and religious staff as well as by a Volunteer Advisory Council.

Building upon the work and ministry of those who have gone before us and rooted in the Missionary Servant Charism we strive to remain faithful to the Missionary Servant Rule of Life which states: “Our specific mission is the preservation of the faith in those areas and among those people who are spiritually neglected and abandoned, especially the poor. Our chief effort is to develop a missionary spirit in the laity, with the goal that every Catholic be an apostle.” Rule of Life #5.

Director: Fr. Dennis Berry, S.T.

Associate Director: Peggy Lunsmann

Missionary Servants Staff:

  • Fr. Aro Varnabas, S. T.
  • Fr. Charles Piatt, S.T.
  • Fr. Joseph Keenan, S.T.
  • Fr. Enrique Arango, S.T.

San Jose Community Outreach: Luz Marina Bazalar

Reservations: Christine O’Connor

Business Office: Catherine Bush

Program and Marketing Manager: Cary St. Pierre

Media & Public Relations: Juan G. Lopez

Gift Shop: Sr. Sophie Kedziora, SSJ    908-647-2766

Senior Ministry

Several Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity reside, in Senior Ministry, at the Shrine and assist in a variety of ways as they are able:

Fr. Conrad Schmitt, S.T.

Fr. Conrad Schmitt, entered his Senior Ministry at the Shrine of St. Joseph in 2006 bringing his spiritual leadership to the Early Christian Community, and his spiritual guidance to the daily journeyers on these sacred grounds. The Baltimore, Md. native served as pastor in Georgia and Alabama. He entered the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity in 1948 and was ordained in 1955. He also attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania where he received a MBA in Finance. His daily presence in the Chapel and the Shrine grounds strengthens the faith of the spiritual journeyers.

Fr. Ralph Frisch, S.T.

Fr. Ralph Frisch, now in Senior Ministry, has spent the last fourteen years as the Missionary Servants' archivist. The New York City native grew up with the idea of being "a missionary" to America, and his long career has been in diverse ministries. He has served in missions in the south, has been director of the retreats at the Shrine, received advance degrees in theology and studied Gerontology. Preaching retreats and Days of Recollection would rank close to the top of his favorite ministries, and finds his position as archivist, challenging and interesting.

Sisters Servants of Jesus

With busy hands and happy hearts, seven Sisters Servants of Jesus make their presence known on the Shrine grounds every day and in many ways!

Their association with the Shrine came about in 1973 when Director Leonard Bachman S.T., ran into a nun who was the sister of an old friend, a Capuchin priest he helped rescue from a Polish concentration camp in World War II. They operate the Gift and Book Shop, maintain and decorate the chapel and public holy places and provide meals in the Shrine Residence.

While the story of this friendship is more complicated than can be detailed here, it was the Providence of God that enabled Fr. Bachman to bring Sister Agnes, the first of the order to emigrate to the US. She was working at a neighboring parish when she met Fr. Bachman, and not long afterward, she accepted a position at the Shrine, while she awaited the arrival of fellow nuns who had been cleared for arrival, thanks to Fr. Bachman. Four young women arrived, ready to work, eagerly accepted his offer for a vacant house on the Shrine property.

The rest is history.  Over the years, their numbers have grown as well as their duties.  These religious Sisters see themselves as "Handmaids of the Lord” and take to heart their call to work quietly, prayerfully and to lovingly serve the Lord by morally and spiritually influencing all whom they encounter.  Today that influence extends to the thousands of pilgrims who visit our Gift & Book Shop, to the extended Shrine Family with whom they come in contact each day, and in the outside community where they serve with love and diligence.