Fonds - St. Joseph's Parish (St. John's, Newfoundland) fonds

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St. Joseph's Parish (St. John's, Newfoundland) fonds

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  • Textual record
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  • Source of title proper: Title based on financial statements found in the fonds

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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  • 1859-1979, predominant 1907-1977 (Creation)
    St. Joseph's Parish (St. John's, N.L. : Catholic)

Physical description area

Physical description

12 cm of textual records
12 photographs

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Administrative history

St. Joseph's, located in the East End of St. John's, was established on 14 August 1907 by Archbishop Michael F. Howley. His appointment of Rev. William Kitchen to St. Joseph's reflects a certain ambiguity as to its exact status upon its founding: "I hereby Appoint [sic] you Administrator of [the] Parish or Mission of St. Joseph's.... The Mission remains attached to and dependent on the Cathedral Parish.... You however have all the faculties and obligations of a Parish priest" (Letter from Michael F. Howley to William Kitchen, 4 Sept. 1907). This ambiguity of status may be explained by the lack of a parish church and presbytery within the boundaries of the new juridical entity. Initially, mass was held in St. Bridget's, a small school-chapel operated by the Sisters of Mercy, and the pastor resided outside of St. Joseph's boundaries in the Cathedral Residence. It is unclear when St. Joseph's ceased to be a quasi-mission and was recognized as an independent parish within the Archdiocese of St. John's. This elevation probably occurred sometime after the consecration of the new parish church.

The foundation stone of the first parish church was laid by Archbishop Edward P. Roche on 19 November 1916. It was opened for worship the following year (dedicated on 18 November 1917), replacing the old school-chapel. In 1918, a new school building, administered by the Sisters of Mercy, was erected on Signal Hill, and in 1922, St. Joseph's Convent also opened on Signal Hill, giving the Sisters of Mercy a resident presence in the parish and completing the parochial organization of St. Joseph's.

Over time, the size of the original parish church proved to be inadequate and a new church was constructed in 1954 on Quidi Vidi Road, blessed and dedicated by Archbishop Patrick J. Skinner on 8 December 1954. The original church was then converted into a boys' school. St. Joseph's School underwent various stages of expansion and co-educational integration, eventually resulting in three separate buildings accommodating grades one to nine on Quidi Vidi Road. The school was closed as a result of denominational education reforms passed by the Provincial Government in 1997.

Following the reforms of Vatican II, a Parish Council was established in 1971 comprised of 12 elected members plus school, youth, and parish pastoral representatives. Other bodies that have been active within the parish include the St. Joseph's Committee, the St. Joseph's Institute, the St. Roch's Club, the Building Committee, the Sponsoring Committee, the Ladies Auxiliary, the Men's Committee, the St. Anne's Sodality, the Holy Name Society, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Women's League, the St. Joseph's Youth Group, the Junior League of Mary, the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides (this list is not exhaustive).

Located in Hoylestown, the parish boundaries originally extended from Pleasantville to Duckworth Street, including Quidi Vidi Village and the Battery. In 1998, due to a decline in the Roman Catholic population of the area, St. Joseph's Parish was suppressed and its boundaries absorbed by the Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Parish. The final mass was held on 21 February 1998.

Pastors who have served St. Joseph's Parish since its establishment include: [C. H.] O'Neil (1907); William Kitchen (1907-1921?); Joseph Pippy (1921-1937); Francis J. D. Ryan (1937-1952); E. P. Maher (1952-1961); J. J. Murray (1962-1982); James L. Doody (1982-1984); David Morrissey (1986?-1988?); John McGettigan (1988?-1990?); William Lawton (1992?-1994?); and Joseph Barton (1994?-1998?).

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of financial statements (1915-25); records relating to the Reverend Gibbs Memorial Committee (1937-40); correspondence relating to building projects, boundaries, Monsignor E. P. Maher, and general parish affairs (1907-77); land deeds and related correspondence (1859, 1913, 1958-71); newspaper clippings and church publications (1954, 1979); a report entitled General Specification of Proposed Parish Church (1953); St. Roch's Club minute book (1928-31); and 12 photographs of the parish church.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


Language of material

  • English
  • Latin

Script of material

    Language and script note

    English predominates. Some records in Latin. No translations available.

    Location of originals

    Availability of other formats

    Restrictions on access

    Restrictions on access may apply. Consult the archivist.

    Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

    Finding aids

    Box list available.

    Associated materials

    See the Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Parish fonds for records that predate the establishment of St. Joseph's Parish.

    Related materials


    The fonds is closed. No further accruals expected.

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    Dates of creation, revision and deletion

    Created - May 1, 2013

    Language of description

    • English

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