Humble Parish Founded in 1851 Now Chester County’s Largest


Images via St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Downingtown.

Founded more than a century and a half ago, the St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Downingtown has grown to become the largest parish in the county, writes Natalie Smith for the Chester County Press.

Led by Monsignor Joseph C. McLoone, the parish is also the second largest in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

St. Joseph’s has seen numerous changes throughout the years, including several expansions and the addition of a rectory. With the arrival of Italian Catholics in the area, it soon flourished and was serving around 250 families by 1931.

The 1950s, however, really marked its expansion, with the addition of a new steeple, an elementary school, and a convent for the nuns.

Two decades later, in 1971, a generous donation of 82 acres led to the new church on Manor Avenue. The next decade brought the construction of the Education Center and an Archdiocesan nursing home, St. Martha Manor.

However, the parish’s continued growth indicated that a larger church was needed. The idea was welcomed by its parishioners, and after $5.3 million was pledged, the new church with 1,200 seats was dedicated in June 2013.

Read more about the thriving parish in the Chester County Press here.

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