The faith community at St. Joseph Parish in York had much to celebrate as the calendar turned to the month of August in this universal Year of St. Joseph.
In a joyful spirit, parishioners welcomed Bishop Ronald Gainer for the celebration of Mass on Aug. 1, as the Diocese’s chief shepherd continues his pastoral visits to parishes named for St. Joseph.
Arriving for Mass, parishioners also saw significant changes at the church, including the relocation of the tabernacle into the center of the sanctuary and the addition of Communion rails. And, they couldn’t help but notice the newly-installed, sizable screens displaying hymns, prayers and Scripture readings to enhance visibility and participation throughout the congregation.
“We have several recent additions, which also include large banners outside the front of the church, because we want to invite people to join us, especially as we celebrate this Year of St. Joseph,” said Father Stephen Fernandes, OFM Cap, pastor.
St. Joseph Parish was founded in 1913, and has seen significant growth in the east York area throughout its history. It has been under the pastoral care of the Capuchin Franciscan Fathers since 1979. The current church was dedicated in 1996, joining St. Joseph School on Kingston Road. St. Joseph’s is home to a vibrant Vietnamese Catholic community and a number of ministries that serve the parish and local communities.
At the conclusion of Mass on Aug. 1, a special presentation was made to the family of Patricia and the late James Boyle, named the Knights of Columbus’ Family of the Year for the state of Pennsylvania. Grand Knight Kelly Brown expressed his gratitude for the Boyle’s example of a loving and dedicated Catholic family.
The bishop also gave a blessing to several parishioners who made the Consecration to St. Joseph on May 19. In this special year, the parish family prays the Prayer to St. Joseph before every Mass and the full Prayer of Consecration to St. Joseph at Masses on the 19th of each month.
“The Year of St. Joseph is a special time for us to model St. Joseph, especially in the way in which he gave himself to serve God,” Father Fernandes said.
There are nine parishes named for St. Joseph in the Diocese, and Bishop Gainer is making pastoral visits to each throughout the year. In addition to York, the parishes are in Berwick, Bonneauville, Dallastown, Danville, Hanover, Lancaster, Mechanicsburg and Milton.
The Catholic Witness is producing feature articles and videos at www.youtube.com/hbgdiocese to spotlight each parish named for St. Joseph throughout the year. We will highlight St. Joseph Parish in York in an upcoming edition.
(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness