Thursday, October 05, 2017

St. Joseph Church (Erie)

An early rendering of St. Joseph Church and rectory

Around 1790, French Canadians began to settle along the western banks of Lake Erie and Maumee Bay. For two decades, Fr. Gabriel Richard ministered to the congregation at Saint Joseph de la Baie Miami. A simple log church was built on the shore in 1819 and, several years later, it was replaced by a frame structure. For two years, 1826-1828, the new church was also used a school until the school was forced to close.

The cornerstone of the current church was laid in 1851 and Bishop Peter Paul LeFevere consecrated the church the following year.

Fr. Henry Rievers made a second attempt at a parochial school in 1855. The Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM Sisters) of Monroe staffed a two-story frame building for four years until the school abruptly closed in 1859.
The first dedicated school building for St. Joseph Parish.
A large group of men (soldiers?) stands in front of the church in 1865.
Fr. Emil Wolstyn built a convent and school in 1914 next to the church, both still stand today. The high school had its first graduating class in June 1919. Since the greatest number of graduates in any one year was eight, the high school was discontinued after 17 years.

In 1971, the elementary school was closed for the third time due to financial difficulties.

After several years of petition from parents, Fr. Robert Haener reopened the school in 1979 with classes for Kindergarten through Grade 2 with another grade added each year. This yearly expansion continued until there were Kindergarten to Grade 8 classes. A pre-kindergarten was added in 1986 and a preschool in 1992. A gymnasium and dining hall were added to the school in 1994.  The Sisters of Notre Dame from Toledo, Ohio, staffed the school for decades and one sister continues to teach there today.

St. Joseph Parish is the second oldest parish in Monroe County and the fourth oldest parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit. The church stands less than five miles from the Ohio state line.

Within the last five years, a statue of St. Joseph and Child Jesus was added in front of the main entrance.

The church's steeple was repaired earlier this year.

The beginning of the Gloria is painted above the main doorway.

Our Lady of Fatima stands next to the baptismal font while the Sacred Heart of Jesus stand next to the St. Joseph altar.

The Blessed Mother side altar.

Stained-glass windows are later additions, likely to be mid-20th Century replacements.

A cruciform window in a side door; St. Michael the Archangel stands at the rear of the church.

Throughout the church, the ceiling is covered with decorative tiles.

Tuesday evening Mass is at 6:00pm followed by Our Lady of Perpetual Help devotionsWednesday and Thursday mornings bring 8am Mass while Friday Mass is at 8:30am. Saturdays bring Reconciliation at 10:00am and Vigil Mass at 4:30pm. Sunday Masses are at 8:00am and 10:30am.

Fr. David Cybulski was ordained in 2009, appointed administrator of St. Joseph in 2013 and pastor in 2015. In addition to his responsibilities as pastor, Fr. Cybulski is also vicar of the Monroe Vicariate.

A parish cemetery stands 1.5 miles west of the church, on Erie Rd.


For more info: parish website

For more photos: Catholic Toledo #1 & Catholic Toledo #2

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