On the site of a former Seneca Indian settlement now known as the Four Flags area just
across the Allegheny River from our present location, the first Mass
was held by Rev. Bonnecamp of the Celeron Expedition on August 19, 1749.
Over 100 years later in 1850, a small one thousand square foot brick church was erected
on what is now the corner of 4th Avenue and Beech Street. At the
time, there were 17 families in the congregation. The first priests were out of the
In 1870, Father De La Roque came to Warren County as the pastor of St. Joseph Church.
He oversaw the planning and completion of a new church in 1877.
This brick church, which cost $20,000, stood on the west side of Beech Street between
Pennsylvania Avenue and Fourth Street. It was torn down in 1957.
In 1959, under the guidance of Msgr. Alfred Bauer, our current church was built on the
corner of Pennsylvania Avenue West and Hazel Street. In 1980, the St.
Joseph Catholic School/Religious Educational Center was opened under the pastorship of
Fr. Salvatore P. Lucci.
Over the life of our Church Community, we have
been guided by the following pastoral leaders:
Rev. Sheridan 1858-1869
Rev. Thomas Lonergan 1869-1870
Rev. Marc Antoine DeLaRoque 1870-1893
Rev. Tracey 1893-1895
Rev. James A. McCabe 1895-1900
Rev. Joseph W. Sieverding 1900-1923
Rev. William C.L. Becker 1923-1924
Rev. Joseph H. Diamond 1924-1941
Rev. W.J. Moore 1941-1943
Msgr. Alfred M.Bauer 1943-1975
Msgr. George M. Hickey 1975-1976
Rev. John O. Meyer 1976-1979
Rev. Salvatore P. Luzzi 1979-1995
Rev. Walter E. Packard 1995 - 2010
Rev. Richard J. Toohey 2010 - 2017
Rev. Richard C. Tomasone 2017 - present
Compiled by Gail Grosch
Our Saint - St. Joseph:
Patron of the Universal Church - Feast day: March 19
Everything we know about the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus comes
from Scripture and that has seemed too little for those who
made up legends about him. We know he was a carpenter, a working man, for the skeptical Nazarenes
ask about Jesus, "Is this not the carpenter's son?"
(Matthew 13:55). He wasn't rich for when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary
to be purified he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or
a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb (Luke 2:24).
Despite his humble work and means, Joseph came from a royal lineage. Luke and Matthew disagree
some about the details of Joseph's genealogy but they both
mark his descent from David, the greatest king of Israel (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38).
Indeed the angel who first tells Joseph about Jesus greets him as
"son of David," a royal title used also for Jesus.
We know Joseph was a compassionate, caring man. When he discovered Mary was pregnant after they
had been betrothed, he knew the child was not his but
was as yet unaware that she was carrying the Son of God. He planned to divorce Mary according to
the law but he was concerned for her suffering and safety.
He knew that women accused to adultery could be stoned to death, so he decided to divorce her
quietly and not expose her to shame or cruelty (Matthew 1:19-25).
We know Joseph was man of faith, obedient to whatever God asked of him without knowing the outcome.
When the angel came to Joseph in a dream and told
him the truth about the child Mary was carrying, Joseph immediately and without question or concern
for gossip, took Mary as his wife. When the angel came
again to tell him that his family was in danger, he immediately left everything he owned, all his
family and friends, and fled to a strange country with his young
wife and the baby. He waited in Egypt without question until the angel told him it was safe to go back
We know Joseph loved Jesus. His one concern was for the safety of this child entrusted to him. Not only
did he leave his home to protect Jesus, but upon his
return settled in the obscure town of Nazareth out of fear for his life. When Jesus stayed in the Temple
we are told Joseph (along with Mary) searched with
great anxiety for three days for him (Luke 2:48). We also know that Joseph treated Jesus as his own son
for over and over the people of Nazareth say of Jesus,
"Is this not the son of Joseph?" (Luke 4:22) We know Joseph respected God. He followed God's commands
in handling the situation with Mary and going to
Jerusalem to have Jesus circumcised and Mary purified after Jesus' birth. We are told that he took his
family to Jerusalem every year for Passover, something
that could not have been easy for a working man. Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus' public life, at
his death, or resurrection, many historians believe
Joseph probably had died before Jesus entered public ministry.
Joseph is the patron of the dying because, assuming he died before Jesus' public life, he died with Jesus
and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth.
Joseph is also patron of the universal Church, fathers, carpenters, and social justice.
"Saint Joseph, patron of the universal Church, watch over the Church as carefully as you
watched over Jesus, help protect it and guide it as you did with your
adopted son". Amen
Compiled by Gail Grosch