ST. JOSEPH'S MISSION YEARS
PARISH ESTABLISHED CURRENT
NEW SCHOOL & CHURCH DEDICATION SCHOOL
CHURCH RENOVATED IN 1983
NEW CHURCH ENTRANCE
PARISH SIGN & OTHER FACELIFTS
CURRENT PASTOR WELCOMED
ST. JOSEPH SCHOOL CLOSES
PERSONNEL CHANGES IN 2010
more on the people throughout St. Joseph's history, please click below:
of the Parish Women Religious
Parish Staff Parish
Staff History Principals
School Faculty & Staff History School
Catholic settlements in the area (the six counties in the northeastern
part of Ohio now known as the Youngstown Diocese) date back to the early
1800's when pioneers moved westward from the Atlantic states and from
Europe to settle in towns such as (New) Lisbon, Canton, Massillon, and
Canal Fulton. Coming from central Ohio, Father Fenwick may have visited
the log cabin of Daniel Shehy in Youngstown as early as 1815 or 1816.
In 1817 the first Masses were celebrated in the log cabin home of Daniel
McAllister at St. Paul Settlement near Dungannon in the dense forests
of Columbiana County and under an oak tree on the property of John Shorb
at Canton. Three years later the small congregation built the first permanent
church in northern Ohio, St. Paul's.
But the "mother church" of the area was St. Columba's in Youngstown.
Through the exertions of William Woods, a small frame church was completed
in 1853. This was replaced in 1864 by a large brick Gothic church built
under the pastorate of Father Eugene M. O'Callaghan. St. Columba's became
the cathedral of the new diocese when it was founded in 1943, and the
present cathedral building was completed in November 1958 (the first St.
Columba's Cathedral burned to the ground in 1954 due to a lightning strike).
Youngstown's first bishop was James A. McFadden, who had been auxiliary
bishop of Cleveland since 1932. In 1952, Bishop McFadden was succeeded
by his coadjutor, Bishop Emmet M. Walsh, formerly the bishop of Charleston,
South Carolina, and who served until his illness in 1966 Bishop James
W. Malone was named auxiliary bishop in 1960, apostolic administrator
in 1966, and the Ordinary (bishop) of the diocese in May 1968. Bishop
Thomas Tobin was appointed
Youngstown Diocesan Bishop on December 5, 1995 & installed installed
February 2, 1996. Upon Bishop Tobin's appointment as the new Bishop of
the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, May 31, 2005, Msgr. Robert J.
Siffrin was elected Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Youngstown
until a new bishop is chosen by Pope Benedict XVI.
JOSEPH'S MISSION YEARS ~
Amadeus Rappe of Cleveland established a mission in Mantua in 1864, with
priests from Cleveland's Holy Name Church traveling to Portage County
for Mass. The old Irish settlers of this area with a great desire to worship
God, though few in number, welcomed the spiritual services of a faithful
corps of priests. Rumors exist that Mass was said in Mantua by a Father
Kindergraph in 1854 and 1855 but he must have been a missionary because
no priest by that name was known in the Diocese of Cleveland. Rev. Jacob
A. Kuhn took care of the new mission 1864-1865. St. Joseph Mission was
then attached to St. Stephen's Church in Niles & the priests from
Niles (Rev. Alexander R. Sidley, Rev. Edward J. Conway, Rev. Bernard B.
Kelley, Rev. Michael Ivers), came from 1865 to 1870. [Refer to Leadership
page for more details on priests who served St. Joseph]
Mantua came as a mission to Warren & Father Edward Murphy built a
frame church which was blessed Christmas, 1871 (this was built on the
site that the brick church building, now Crestwood Schools Board offices,
stands on Prospect St. in Mantua Village). Until then Mass was said in
the house of Patrick Calvin, the old schoolhouse, and then mostly in the
house of Brian Reagan (later occupied by Mrs. Mary Paul). The money to
build the church was collected from the poor people and John King, a section
foreman on the Erie railroad from his men from Warren to Warrensville.
He paid the contractor, Mr. Farr, as he got it, and in 1872 as the report
shows, all was paid and everybody was glad, but it shows, too, the spirit
among these old setters.
Murphy had left Warren in 1873 and Father Timothy A. Mahoney came from
Niles 1871 to 1873 and took care of Mantua, too. From 1873 to 1875 Father
Angelo Paganini and Joseph Paganini, cousins, took care of Warren and
Mantua. From 1876 to 1877 Fr. Bernard Kelley returned to St. Joseph mission
as pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Warren. From 1877 to 1879 Father
M. Murphy came who was then succeeded by Father William J. Manning from
1879 to 1882. In July, 1882, came Father Felix Scullin until February,
1884. He was succeeded by Father Denis O'Brien, who died in the late 1930's,
in Chicago. In August, 1886, came Rev. Ambrose Weber and served until
1901. Under his guidance the church was beautified and a steeple added.
Father Patrick Dwyer came to Mantua until 1903. Jesuits
from St. Ignatius College (forerunner of John Carroll University) in Cleveland
were given charge of St. Joseph Mission starting on March 15, 1903 through
1910. During this time the mission was attended twice a month.
Click here to more information about the
Jesuits & other leaders of St. Joseph's. In 1911 Father Michael F.
Shannon received charge of Mantua as a mission, January 1, 1911 through
1918 while pastor of Assumption in from Royalton (now Broadview Heights).
1919 and 1920 Official Catholic Directories list Mantua as being administered
from St. Mary Seminary. Rev. James A. McFadden (later bishop of Youngstown)
was the rector. Rev. Richard Brennan was listed as being a professor of
Canon Law, Introductory Sacred Scripture & Liturgy during that time
period. It is safe to say that they probably took care of Mantua during
these years. From
March 19, 1920 to June 15, 1938, Diocese of Cleveland records show Father
Shannon was once again Pastor of Assumption in Royalton and took care
of St. Joseph, Mantua until Father Gracey was assigned as the first resident
pastor in 1923.
1923, with Rev. Edward Gracey as the first resident pastor, St. Joseph
was established as a parish serving thirty-five to forty families. Under
Rev. Gracey's supervision the first St. Joseph Church was built &
was dedicated in May, 1924 (building 4571 Prospect St., now known as the
"Old" Church, was bought by the Crestwood School District Board
of Education in 1968 & is currently used to house Special Services).
It was hard labor to bring all members, who had been coming only once
or twice a month to come to the church every Sunday, but by and by they
got used to it and everything went fine. St. Joseph's became a parish
with 35 to 40 families. Father Gracey opened a mission in Geauga Lake
to give those people, especially during the summer time, an opportunity
to fulfill their Sunday duties, too.
Edward Gracey was followed in 1925 by Father Hugh L. Collins, coming from
the St. Joseph's Church in Collinwood. Father Oldrich Mazanec was pastor
after Father Collins and served from 1927 to 1930 with Geauga Lake as
a mission. Then, Solon established a mission and when in 1930 as St. Rita's
became an independent parish, Father Mazanec left Mantua where he had
worked faithfully. As Father Mazanec became pastor of St. Rita's in Solon,
Father Frank P. Brennan came to Mantua in 1930 from St. Catherine's Church,
where he had worked as assistant pastor. Mantua was his first parish and
so his first love. He worked hard as all these priests did. He was transferred
to Immaculate Conception in Willoughby in October, 1934.
Father Anton (Anthony) L. Battes followed Father Brennan & built the
"new" rectory in 1935. In 1968, this building located at 4565
Prospect St. in Mantua (next to the "Old" Church) was bought
by the Crestwood School District Board of Education & is currently
used as Board & Administration offices.
Diocese of Youngstown was established May 15, 1943.
Church in this area grew to such an extent that in 1943, the Holy Father
announced the establishment of the Youngstown Diocese, comprising the
six counties of Northeastern Ohio.
John Toole, whose fatherly guidance and love of his people, imprinted
the character of what a priest is and must be upon his people. He served
at St. Joseph's from 1945 to 1951.
Father John Lavelle, with big heart and booming voice, made St. Joseph's
remember priestly service and dedication. He was pastor from 1951 to 1960.
It was he who renovated the old church and extended his service to the
mission in Aurora, and who planned well for the future by purchasing ninety-six
acres of property on Pioneer Trail for future development just north of
the Village of Mantua. In November 1957 he also lead the fund drive for
the first parochial school in northern Portage County.
CHURCH & SCHOOL DEDICATION
Francis Hughes served from 1960 to 1966 & opened St. Joseph's first
"school" in the basement of the old church, using also the facilities
across the street loaned by the Hilltop Christian Church. He later served
as Pro-Tem Administrator from March-July, 1989, & April 30-July 1,
1994, when the parish was without an assigned pastor.
zeal and selflessness, Father Hughes continued the plans of his predecessor
and brought about the building of the first portion of a million and half
dollar dream of a parish complex on the new, 96-acre property - a church,
school and auditorium. Climaxing nearly a century of spiritual service
to the Catholics of Mantua, Ohio, St. Joseph's formally dedicated its
new church and school on Sunday, July 28, 1963. The Most Reverend Emmet
Michael Walsh, D.D., Bishop of Youngstown, officiated at the ceremony.
Located off Pioneer Trail, on one of the highest points in Portage County,
the new church and school unit was designed by Architect Charles J. Faroni.
The plan was to eventually build a permanent church & use the "temporary
church" space as a gymnasium and convert part of the hall into classroom
Hughes enlisted the services of the Dominican Sisters of Akron (Our Lady
of the Elms is their mother house), whose pioneer spirit and dedication
made St. Joseph the recognized school that it is today. Under his supervision
the men of the parish renovated an old building (known as the The Faragher
House) on the corner of the new property to house the nuns during the
school year. This was a red-brick Victorian home built around 1885 by
Martin B. Sanford [son of Jason and Hannah (Ladd) Sanford]. This building
still exists today as a private residence (Bill & Valerie Fosnight),
10941 Main St., on the corner of St. Rt. 44 & the entrance to Crestwood
Tour as described in the church & school dedication booklet . .
"An ample parking
lot occupies part of the 96-acre site on which the church and school
are built. Facing the parking lot is the new brick St. Joseph Church
and School, which presents a sweeping, modern appearance against its
point on the left side of the building is the artistic entrance into
the church, which has a seating capacity of 679."
altar from the old church continues to hold the place of honor in the
new St. Joseph's. The unique seating arrangement of six sections of
pews formed in a semi-circle around the altar was designed to permit
a better view of the altar by a greater number of people."
"To the left of the vestibule is the sacristy and the altar boys'
room; to the right are the baptistry and the mothers' crying room for
babies [this was later converted into a Day Chapel & is now our
All-Purpose Room]. Two confessionals are located adjacent to the sacristy
to allow the priests to enter them directly from the sacristy. Two more
with similar access are adjacent to the baptistry."
entrance, which features modern ornamentation, opens into a corridor
which affords easy access into the church or lower level school area.
This hallway also leads into the kitchen and cafeteria."
"The cafeteria can be used as a social hall or all-purpose room,
providing a church-centered place for meetings and recreation for all
age groups. There is ample space in the cafeteria to create four meeting
rooms in part of this all-purpose hall. If needed, this space can also
be used for classrooms."
floor school area includes two classrooms, administrative offices, a
checkroom, religious article store, a book store, rest rooms, lay faculty
and Sisters' lounges and a boiler room and janitor's shop. The boiler
room houses two oil-burning furnaces, an incinerator and a hot water
tank. This lower level school area also has its own entrance on the
right side of the building."
"The second floor features six classrooms, a library and rest room,
in addition to the choir loft, which overlooks the church proper [this
choir loft is now our computer lab]."
In September of
1963, St. Joseph School had five grades and continued to add another
grade each year. At that time, three school buses provided the children
with transportation. For more history on St. Joseph School, click
Father Hughes stated
that this was the start of a new chapter in the history of St. Joseph's
Church & it was his hope that this chapter would continue until
some day we would have the dedication of a permanent church.
Then came Father John
Vasko, in 1966, and Father Francis Snock, in 1967, both of whom carried
on the work of building and spiritual development initiated by their predecessors.
Rev. John H. Hoey became pastor in 1974 followed by Rev. George Balasko
RENOVATED IN 1983
Joseph Fata received his first pastorate when he was assigned to St. Joseph
in 1981. In May, 1983, under Rev. Joseph Fata's direction, a renovation
of the church was completed:
- The ceiling was
refinished to brighten the area and enhance acoustics. Buttress-like
beams were added to create the illusion of a lower ceiling. New lighting
was also installed.
- All the walls were
covered with vinyl wall covering (unnecessary doors and openings were
eliminated for simplicity and smoothness).
- New carpeting was
installed & a canopy was added over the enlarged sanctuary area
including lighting to enhance the focal point for worship.
- Travertine marble
in individual rectangles was added to the wall behind the altar.
- Three chapels were
added - a Day Chapel for small group celebrations, etc., a Blessed Sacrament
Chapel for reservation of the Eucharist (southeast corner), and a Reconciliation
Chapel for celebration of the Sacrament of Penance (southwest corner).
- Organ speaker/pipes
were placed above the Reconciliation Chapel with the option of additional
speakers over the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
- The Narthex was
enlarged to allow for and encourage the gathering of people before and
after worship and celebrations.
- After some window
openings were eliminated, the remaining windows were installed with
antique and cathedral glass.
- New statues of
Mary, Joseph, and the Christ Child were commissioned and sculpted in
ceramic by Akron artisan Brian B. Heard (photos of sculpting in March,
- The Risen
Christ for the sanctuary wall was carved from black walnut on the
property by Sister Evangeline Doyle,
- New furniture and
appointments included: altar, ambo, chair, tables, servers benches,
Baptismal font, Eucharistic tower and tabernacle, and cantor's lectern.
- For the configuration
of the 14 Stations of the Cross, the former wood-carved plaques were
- The large wooden
cross at Station 12 formerly hung on the sanctuary wall.
Father Fata also oversaw
the addition of landscaping throughout the property. Effective July 26,
1988, Fr. Fata was been named pastor of St. Luke Church in Boardman.
John Trimbur served in 1988 with St. Joseph's being his first pastorate.
Rev. Francis Hughes came back as interim pastor in 1988 and 1989 after
Fr. Trimbur left. Father Hughes especially loved the children & the
thriving school, his dream come true from 1963. Rev. James M. Fondriest
came in 1989 and remained until 1994 when he stepped down as pastor to
take a leave of absence from his spiritual duties. Rev. John Dailey was
appointed by the diocese for one month (April, 1994) and Rev. Francis
Hughes was back again serving as interim pastor, April 30-July 1, 1994.
During his second interimship at St. Joseph's Father Hughes' duties consisted
of a myriad of weddings, funerals, training classes and overall supervision
of the school. Rev. Richard Murphy came to serve at weekend Masses from
July 2 to August 31, 1994, until Father Tom McCarthy came.
ENTRANCE & LANDSCAPING
Thomas McCarthy came to the parish in September, 1994. In September of
1995, the parish hall was named and rededicated the Rev. Francis Hughes
Hall. In celebration of the parish's 75th anniversary (1998), a time capsule
was buried, the carillon was purchased and the interior of the church
was cleaned & painted from ceiling to floor. In 1999, the Garden Club
funded, organized & completed the new entrance to the church with
the help of many parishioners who gave of their time & talents. Father
Tom oversaw the addition of a beautiful piece of artwork by world famous
sculptor, Joseph Turkaly, entitled "Joseph
& the Children" that was added to the alcove of the new entrance
in 2001 (dedicated to the memory of parishioner Linda Kulka who was tragically
killed in an auto accident). To see photos of Joseph Turkaly's work, click
2002, the Garden Club began the first stage of their landscape renovation
by coordinated the removal of "overgrowth" on either side of
the Church entrance. New dirt and a new bed of grass plus a few small
trees & shrubs have been added (with plans to add more plantings in
As money becomes available, the rest of the plans will come to reality.
years of quality Catholic education was marked as St. Joseph School commemorated
its 40th anniversary during the 2003/2004 school year. Catholic Schools
Week was an annual celebration of what makes our school special. The
celebration continues with the Ox Roast Fair.
This wonderful community event was started in 1964 by Father
Francis J. Hughes to help pay for the new school and continues as one
of the area's most anticipated activities.
Michael D. Balash, was welcomed to the parish August 1, 2003.
Tom McCarthy was appointed Bishop's Delegate for Retired Priests and continues
his position of Priest Personnel Advisor for the Diocese of Youngstown.
NEW PARISH SIGN
& OTHER FACELIFTS
In the Fall
of 2005, a new lighted sign & St. Joseph statue were installed at
Pioneer Trail thanks to volunteers who worked and donated towards this
In the Fall of 2005, St. Joseph Parish took part in the Diocese of Youngstown's
first and largest capital campaign in its 61-year history, "Today's
Sacrifice . . . Tomorrow's Church Capital Campaign". This four-year
pledge commitment is the first step in establishing a Building Fund for
the building of a permanent church structure (after meeting our Annual
Bishop's Appeal goal & target campaign goal, the parish is rebated
a percentage of the pledges received).
the late summer and fall of 2006, areas of the parish received "facelifts".
The Parish Center saw painting of the kitchen and meeting room (decorative
items and updated lighting added), the addition of new chairs and carpeting,
and replacement of a badly deteriorating garage door. Hughes Hall &
Narthex were also painted. The parking lot was re-lined and
Home & School adding two benches and two permanent garbage cans to
the playground area. The
areas in front of the Parish Center & School received much needed
updates to the landscaping in "phase II" of landscaping improvements.
Romano & Sons (Pat Romano) handled the removal and designing and preparation
of the beds. Volunteers from the Garden Club and Knights of Columbus assisted
with planting and mulching (Garden Club funded half of this project).
BENEDICT XVI APPOINTS NEW BISHOP FOR DIOCESE
The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, announced January 30, 2007, at noon
in Rome (6:00 a.m. EST) that the Most Reverend George V. Murry, S.J.,
has been appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown by Pope Benedict
XVI. Bishop Murry is currently Bishop of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.
Upon his appointment, Bishop Murry stated: I am honored to accept
the Holy Fathers appointment to serve as Bishop of Youngstown and
I look forward to meeting and working with the priests, deacons, religious
and laity of the diocese. Bishop Murry will be installed as the
fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown on Wednesday, March 28, 2007.
To learn more about Bishop Murry, click here.
Msgr. Robert J. Siffrin served as Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese
of Youngstown from June 2, 2005 (following Bishop Thomas J. Tobin's appointment
as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, effective
May 31, 2005) until the Most Reverend George V. Murry, S.J., was installed
as the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown on Wednesday, March 28,
2007 (Bishop Murry was appointed January 30, 2007).
the summer of 2007 improvements included all of the hallways, stairwells,
and doors of the school of the entire school building receiving a fresh
coat of new paint, new carpeting for the church, narthex, All-Purpose
Room, and school office, and new ceiling fans were installed in the
Our current pastor, Fr. Michael Garvey, was welcomed as our new pastor
as of July 1, 2008. He
served 20 years and his assignments were with the Navy, the Marines,
and Coast Guard. His duty included assignments in Cuba, Japan, and Alaska.
Father retired in June of 2007 from Corry Station, Pensacola, Florida.
In December, 2008 he was assigned to St. Rose Parish in Girard as the
Associate Pastor before coming to St. Joseph's. Fr. Michael Balash was
assigned to St. William Parish in Champion.
JOSEPH SCHOOL CLOSES
St. Joseph School
in Mantua closed at the end of the 2009-2010 school year. Declining
enrollment was a major factor in the decision. In mid-March, only 59
students in kindergarten through eighth grade registered for the 2010-2011
school year. Reverend Michael Garvey, pastor, informed parents of the
decision by letter on March 26 and during weekend Masses on March 27-28.
Click here for St. Joseph School page
& history links.
CHANGES IN 2010 & 2011
As of the first of July, 2010, our Pastoral
Minister, Sr. Rose Anne began in ministry at Immaculate Conception in
Ravenna and still in residence in Aurora. At this same time our DRE,
Mac Clapp, also left taking on the full-time DRE position at Our Lady
of Perpetual Help in Aurora. With the closing of St. Joseph School (June,
2010), Miss Beth Frank then accepted the DRE position for the 2010-2011
PSR year. As of October 1, 2010, Sr. Joyce Schreiber, S.N.D., became
our new Pastoral Minister. During this same time period, our Food Service
Manager, Al Roberts, had his position end and he moved on to other employment
After forty seven years of combined academic and
religious education ministries, Beth Frank retired on June 30, 2011
(However, as of August 15, 2011, she became the new principal
at St. Joseph School in Randolph for the 2011/2012 school year).
Mrs. Margaret "Peg" Haney became our new DRE as of September
parish has undergone tremendous growth, from the small group who founded
the mission in 1864 to the nearly 1,000 presently registered families
at St. Joseph. Our parish has been richly blessed through the years
with loving, caring and welcoming parishioners who reflect the Word
of God in their faith life. Together, let us celebrate our unique history,
accomplishments and blessings of our parish and rededicate ourselves
to serving the future needs of our community.