Our Parish History

The first Mass in the village of Saint Johns was celebrated in 1857 in the home of Jeremiah Dooling by Fr. George Godez, who was passing through the area, traveling from his parish in Westphalia to the Saint Johns train depot. Later, services were held in the village school which was situated on the corner of Walker and Mead Streets. By 1859, the Catholic community in Saint Johns had grown enough to become a mission attached to Assumption Parish in Corunna.
Ground was broken for the first Catholic Church building in the spring of 1866. The frame structure for the sixty active Catholic families was built on the southeast corner of Whittemore and Railroad Streets.
On May 7, 1871, Bishop of Detroit, Caspar A. Borgess, named the new parish “St. Joseph.”
Our Catholic elementary school opened on September 8, 1924, with 70 students in eight grades. They learned under the direction of the Sisters of St. Joseph from Marquette, MI. Through the years, two large additions have been added to the school and enrollment has grown to over 300 students in kindergarten through sixth grade.
The present St. Joseph Church was dedicated on October 25, 1908. Solemn High Mass was celebrated by Fr. Andrew Dooling (son of Jeremiah Dooling and the only St. Joseph parishioner at the time to have received Holy Orders). The parish experienced steady growth through the years with 335 registered families in 1950, 500 families in 1957, 800 families in the late 1960’s and 1100 families in 1981. This growth necessitated an addition to the church building in 1982. Currently we have over 1000 registered families.

Parish Mission Statement

We of St. Joseph Parish are a sacramental community of Christians guided by the Holy Spirit. We are called to worship God and proclaim God’s Word by living the Good News of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As a sacramental community, we accept the responsibility to serve, rather than be served, in our parish, community, and beyond.