St. Joseph Parish in Downingtown, Chester County, dedicated its new church on Saturday, June 15 at 460 Manor Avenue, Downingtown. The celebration was the culmination of planning for future parish and enrollment that began in 2007.
The Rite of Solemn Dedication was celebrated by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. Approximately 1,200 parishioners, priests, community officials and those involved with building the church were in attendance.
“The new church will allow for a larger, more beautiful worship space for our growing parish family,” said Msgr. Joseph McLoone, pastor. “From our humble beginnings more than 160 years ago to our present day, one thing has never changed: we have been called to be a visible sign that Christ is at the center of who we are as a people of God.”
The new church, built by Caldwell, Heckles, and Egan of Lancaster, includes seating for 1,200 people, a larger narthex, a daily Mass chapel, meeting rooms, and stained glass windows crafted from closed churches in Philadelphia.
St. Joseph, the second-largest parish in the archdiocese, has more than 4,400 families and more than 14,500 parishioners. Founded in 1851, the parish’s first church was built in 1852 on Bradford Avenue in the Johnsontown area of Downingtown.
Its second church was built on Manor Avenue in 1971; parishioners celebrated their last weekend Masses there on June 8 and 9. The building will be razed this summer to accommodate additional parking. Many sacred items from the old church have been incorporated into the new church. The bell tower erected to mark the parish’s 150th anniversary will remain standing, and a marker will be placed to indicate where the present church’s altar stood. (Photos by Sarah Webb)
Fr. Brian Kean and Msgr. Joseph McLoone, pastor, sprinkle the people of the church as a sign of repentance and as a reminder of their baptism.
Msgr. Joseph McLoone, pastor, sprinkles the people and church as a sign of repentance and as a reminder of their baptism and to purify the walls of the new church.
Archbisohp Charles Chaput places relics of Saint Anthony of Padua, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seaton, Saint John Neumann, Saint Maria Goretti, Saint Patrick, and Saint Peregrine beneath the altar which is then sealed.
Archbishop Charles Chaput anoints the altar with sacred chrism which makes the altar a symbol of Christ.
Incense is burned on the altar to signify that Christ’s sacrifice, there perpetuated in mystery, ascends to God as an odor of sweetness and also to signify that the people’s prayers rise up pleasing and acceptable, reaching the throne of God (Rev 8:3-4).
The altar is covered in preparation for the fist celebration of the Eucharist in the new church.
Parishiners come forward with candles for the altar which will be lit to show that Christ brightness shines out in the Church and through it in the whole human family.
The lighting of the altar is follwed by the lighting of the church which reminds us that Christ is “a light to enlighten the nations” (Luke 2:32).
LIturgy of the Eucharist
The people of St. Joseph parish pray joyfully in their new church.
Archbishop Charles Chaput puts away Eucharist in the tabernacle for the first time at the new parish.
Parishiners appluad for all the hard work that has gone in to creating their beautiful new church.
Knights of Columbus lead the recessional after the beautiful dedication of the new church of St. Joseph Parish in Downingtown, Chester County.
Msgr. Joseph McLoone, pastor, and Fr. Brian Kean incense the church during the dedication of the new church.
Representitves from Casaccio Yu Architects hand over the plans for the church to Archbishop Charles Chaput.
Msgr. Joseph McLonne, pastor, along with Archbishop Charles Chaput open the doors to the new church for the people to enter.
Parishioners fill the new church for the first time.