Parish History

1954 - The Old Kronenberg Church becomes three churches. St. Therese, St. Anne, and St. Joseph the Worker. Fr. Jerome Schmitz is founder of all three parishes.

1955 – Ten acres and a large house are purchased for St. Joseph the Worker parish. Two classrooms, a sanctuary and a breezeway are constructed in time for school in September. Three grades are established with fifty-three students. The Altar Guild is formed; their first president is Kay Stout. The parish of St. Joseph the Worker is officially founded with 821 families.

1955 - A row of sequoias are planted along the north end of the property near the entrance and are blessed by Father Jerome Schmitz.      

1957 - In the summer of 1957, an auditorium church with two classrooms is added to the original building. School advances one grade each year. In September, Fr. Gimpl joins Fr. Schmitz as pastor.

1959 - Fr. Donald Denman is appointed as Pastor of St. Joseph Parish with Fr. James Dieringer as his assistant. During the school year, Fr. Paul Parrington resides at St. Joseph the Worker.

1959 - The church sanctuary is renovated.

1961 - In June, St. Joseph School produces its first graduating class of twenty-six students.

1963 - Fr. Dieringer is replaced by Fr. Carl Flach.

1964 - In July, Brokamp & Jaeger is awarded a contract to construct six new classrooms for $166,200. The construction allows the two classrooms in the rear of the church to be removed.

1965 - In September, Fr. Stephen Breitenstein becomes the Pastor of St. Joseph.

1968 - In February, Fr. Ervin Vandehey becomes the Pastor of St. Joseph with Fr. Flach remaining as Associate Pastor.

1970 - St. Joseph School merges with St. Anne School with the first three grades being taught at St. Anne's and the remaining grades taught at St. Joseph's. Sister Mary Anne is the principal of the merged school.

1970 - In July, Fr. Patrick McNamee replaces Fr. Flach as Associate Pastor. Fr. Paul Peri resides at St. Joseph and teaches at Central Catholic High School.

1971 - Sister Mary Joseph becomes the new principal of the merged school. Construction begins for a new parish house.

1972 - New parish house is completed for $38,727. By 1972, St. Joseph boasts of serving 750 families.

1975 - Combined St. Joseph/St. Anne Schools close.

1979 - A Religious Education Coordinator and an Executive Assistant are added to the staff.

1984 - Plans are made to remodel the church.

1985- Remodel of the church is completed in time for the Easter celebration.

1990 - Fr. Erwin Vandehey retires after 22 years at St. Joseph Parish. Fr. Jack Krall replaces Father Vandehey.

1992 - Current logo for St. Joseph the Worker is established.

1996 - Memorial Garden is created. Bronze and concrete sculpture of Risen Christ is installed on a rock wall surrounded by a garden.

1997 - St. Joseph statue is blessed by Archbishop Francis George, OMI.

1998 - New wall displays are added to the south wall of the church for Holy Family Statues and the Ambry (Holy Oils). The parish holds it's 20th Spaghetti dinner.

1999 - New carpet installed in main church and the pews are bolted down.

1999 - Frances Kenney brings the Hat & Scarf program to St. Joseph.

2002 - Father John Amsberry becomes Pastor at St. Joseph and his saying, "You Are Loved" (URLVD) is born.

2003 - Youth Group attends their first Steubenville Youth Conference in San Diego.  Twenty-seven students attend. Another first for the Youth Group is a service trip to Mexico.

2004 - Parishioner Jim Rorich begins a Knights of Columbus Council. They receive their official charter on December 6th and become Council 13700.

2004 - The church is renovated to provide more seating. The restrooms in the NW corner of the church are removed.

2005 - The Spaghetti Dinner received an update with beautiful scenes from Italy painted on large pieces of canvas by parishioner Bill Standley.

2004 - The parish begins the Homeless Outreach Program.

2004 - LOOP (Ladies of our Parish) is established.

2004 - The church is renovated again to remove the restrooms from the northwest corner of the sanctuary which allows for more seating.

2006 - In October, the Knights of Columbus host their first dinner and auction to benefit the Seminarians.

2006 - In July, Fr. John celebrates the tenth anniversary of his ordination.

2006 - St. Joseph get its own website designed and maintained by parishioner Patti LaRue.

2008 - Deacon Michael Caldwell ordained first permanent deacon at St. Joseph the Worker October 25, 2008.

2008 - In September, St. Joseph celebrates 50+ years of love, joy & communion with God.  

2008 - Vacation Bible School (VBS) is started at St. Joseph.

2015 - Deacon Larry Loumena ordained permanent deacon October 24, 2015 for St. Joseph the Worker.

2017 - St. Joseph welcomes our newest Pastor, Fr. Ted Prentice.

2017 - November 29th Archdiocese approves addition of the 3:30pm Mass in Zomi for the Burmese immigrant community moving into S.E. Portland.  The first Mass is offered on the first Sunday of Advent, December 3, 2017.  Prior to this, Fr. John Amsberry and periodic visiting Burmese priests had celebrated occasional Masses for the Zomi while the community consistently held weekly Sunday prayer services in the social room or basement when clergy were not available.  Francis Kham offers his services as translator for and coordinator of the Zomi. 

2018 - New church dedication held January 28, 2018.  Completed $5 Million renovation project.  The original tabernacle (from 1955 when St. Joseph was built) is retained and a new altar is brought in, built and donated by Mike Grant, owner of the Grant Construction Company who managed the remodel construction.  The old, "Stella Maris" altar is placed in classroom 2 which becomes the Chapel, later named The Holy Family Chapel. The new altar with a marble top contains an authenticated relic of St. John Vianney, presented to the church as a gift from Fr. John Buffington a beloved guest priest in our parish.

2018 - October 7, Fr. Ted initiates the first Spanish Mass.  By November, 2018 census count shows 137 participants and Mass attendance continues to grow.

2020 - Coronavirus pandemic forces churches to close in mid-March.  For the first time in St. Joseph's history, the obligation to attend Mass is suspended by the archdiocese and no Easter services are held.  Ministries stop meeting, unless they can do so virtually, over computers. Faith Formation stops; Youth group meets online.   The Furniture and Household Goods program through Helping Hands (formerly Peace and Justice) tries to remain open, but closes to wait out the pandemic. St. Vincent DePaul food pantry remains open but home deliveries of food are suspended.  A small group of individuals, most of whom who are not in the high-risk group for contracting the virus run the pantry every Saturday from 10-noon.  

2020 - Spring.  SJTW hands out boxes of food provided by the USDA to anyone in need once a week.  Volunteers, wearing masks, social distancing, and remaining outside where the virus is less likely to be contracted, help place boxes in vehicles as they drive through the parking lot.

2020 - May 30, at Pentecost vigil Mass, church opens to limited numbers of masked and social-distanced worshipers.  RCIA candidates are able to receive their sacraments which would normally have been celebrated at the Easter Vigil.  

2020 - August 16, Janet Rathbone, Youth Ministry Coordinator retires after many years of service to our church.

2020 - Christmas services are held but limited numbers of people are allowed in so that social distancing can take place.  All must wear masks.  

2021 - March.  Youth Group begins meeting again with new coordinators, Jason De Leon and Lisa Velazquez.  Students and teachers must follow virus protocols.

2021 - April 17.  Zomi Community holds special Interdenominational Multi-Cultural Prayer Service.  Ministers and faith leaders from all over Portland attend, including our pastor, Fr. Ted Prentice and Bishop Peter Smith from the archdiocese of Portland.

2021 - June.  Kathy Harris, Music Coordinator for many years retires and moves back with her family to Ohio.

2021 - Nov. 6.  Altar Guild is able to hold an in-person Christmas Bazaar once again.  Knights of Columbus and other parish ministries begin to meet again in-person, since vaccines afford some protection from the virus.