The parish history of Saint Joseph Church tells a story of a holy and hard- working people dedicated for almost a century to the worship of God, service to the community, and the education of God’s children.
In February of 1916, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia decided to establish a parish in the borough of Collingdale, Pennsylvania. On February 16th of that year, Mass was first celebrated in the Collingdale Fire Hall. On the feast of Saint Joseph, March 19, 1916, ground breaking ceremonies for a new combination church and school building took place. On Christmas day 1916, Saint Joseph Parish relocated and Mass was celebrated at the brand new Woodlawn Avenue site. During these inaugural days, the church, school and clerical residence were all under one roof.
In 1955 responding to a burgeoning population, the parish began the building of a new church, a junior high school and a rectory. The original church was converted into classroom space. Its prominent tower containing the Angelus Bell can be seen and heard throughout the neighborhood. Currently, the Saint Joseph Parish plant encompasses five buildings used for various parish activities and programs, namely: worship, faith formation, socials and special events.
Throughout the years, there have been many changes in regards to Saint Joseph Parish School. Numbers have increased and decreased due to a number of factors. Many a proud graduate would remember the motto “For God and Our Country,” the grotto dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the mascot “Spartans.” In its heyday Saint Joseph School was the largest grade school (both Catholic and public) in Delaware County. Sadly, the parish school closed in 2010.
For almost 100 years, Saint Joseph Parish has grown along with Collingdale, educating and caring for the needs of a large segment of the community. At one time like the school it was the largest Catholic parish in Delaware County. Many faithful priests have ministered to the pastoral needs of our people. A large number of dedicated sisters, especially the Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who lived in the parish convent on Bartram Avenue, and talented lay teachers have prepared our children spiritually and intellectually. Many vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated religious life were nurtured by parish life. Thousands of parishioners have sacrificed to make Saint Joseph Parish an integral part of the religious, social and cultural life of this community.