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)