• <p>St. Joseph Church in Penfield is seen in 2017. (Courier file photo)  </p>

    St. Joseph Church in Penfield is seen in 2017. (Courier file photo)

St. Joseph’s name surfaces often across Diocese of Rochester

Mike Latona/Catholic Courier    |    03.10.2021
Category: Features


When it comes to titles of parishes and other organizations, St. Joseph endures as one of the most popular names in the Rochester Diocese.

The saint, whose feast day is March 19, is being honored in a year of consecration declared by Pope Francis to note the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph being declared patron of the universal church.

He has been a part of the downtown Rochester scene since 1836 when St. Joseph Parish was founded, making it one of the first parishes in the diocese. A new church was dedicated in 1846, and it remained a popular worship site for parishioners and city-based employees before being destroyed by a fire in 1974. The following year, St. Joseph Parish merged with nearby Our Lady of Victory, and today the parish is known as Our Lady of Victory/St. Joseph. A small park, featuring the shell of the original St. Joseph Church, exists at the building’s former site on Franklin Street.

Following the establishment of St. Joseph in Rochester, other parishes bearing the saint’s name were founded across the diocese later in the 19th century — including several churches that remain in existence today:

• St. Joseph Parish in Weedsport was begun in 1854 as a mission before becoming a parish in 1862. Its current church was built in 1957. Since 2005, St. Joseph has been part of Our Lady of the Snow Parish in Cayuga County along with St. John in Port Byron and St. Patrick in Cato.

• In 1856, St. Joseph Parish in West Bloomfield was founded. The church closed in 1990, with St. Bridget Parish in East Bloomfield becoming known as St. Bridget/St. Joseph. In 2012, St. Bridget/St. Joseph joined with St. Mary in Canandaigua to form Ontario County’s St. Benedict Parish. Another St. Joseph link involves St. Benedict’s pastor, Father Michael Costik: He’s a native of the former St. Joseph Parish in Livonia, which in 2004 merged with St. William in Conesus to form the new St. Matthew Parish.

• With 12 founding families, St. Joseph Parish in Penfield was established in 1860. From those modest beginnings, the eastern Monroe County parish has bec0me one of the largest in the diocese. Its current church building was dedicated in 1968. In 1956, St. Joseph School was established on the parish campus; it is currently the only Catholic school in the diocese named after St. Joseph.

• In 1864, St. Joseph Parish in Rush was founded; the cornerstone for the current church was laid in 1881 by Bishop Bernard McQuaid. Since 2012, St. Joseph — along with Guardian Angels Church in Henrietta — has been a part of St. Marianne Cope Parish in southern Monroe County.

• St. Joseph the Carpenter Parish in Campbell was established in 1871. St. Joseph’s original church structure remains in operation today, serving central Steuben County Catholics as part of Ss. Isidore and Maria Torribia Parish — formed in 2010 — along with St. Stanislaus, Bradford; and St. Catherine of Siena, Addison.

• In 1881, St. Joseph Parish in Wayland was begun; its original church building is still serving the faithful today. In 2004, St. Joseph became a part of Holy Family Catholic Community in northern Steuben and southern Livingston counties. The parish also comprises St. Pius V, Cohocton; Sacred Heart, Perkinsville; and St. Mary, Dansville.

• More recently, a new St. Joseph parish came into existence in 2012, when St. Joseph the Worker was formed in eastern Wayne County. The parish comprises St. John the Evangelist, Clyde; St. Patrick, Savannah; and St. Michael, Lyons.

However, the title of St. Joseph in the Rochester Diocese is not limited to parishes. Other entities bearing the saint’s name include:

• The Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester, who established a local community in the mid-1850s, growing into one of the two major women’s religious orders in the diocese, along with the Sisters of Mercy. A new Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse was opened in 2003 at 150 French Road, Pittsford.

St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph founded in 1993. Located at 417 South Avenue near downtown Rochester, the center provides comprehensive health care, counseling, dental services and social work to uninsured and underinsured folks.

St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality, a Catholic Worker facility, located across the street from the neighborhood center at 402 South Ave. Begun in 1941, St. Joseph’s House provides food, clothing and shelter for the hungry and homeless.

St. Joseph’s Hospital in Elmira, which has provided health care in the Southern Tier since 1908 when the Sisters of St. Joseph led its founding.

• Four Catholic cemeteries named after St. Joseph. They’re located in Auburn, Penfield, Wayland and Weedsport.

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