(During the Year of St. Joseph, The Catholic Messenger is featuring churches whose patron saint is St. Joseph.)
Location: St. Joseph Parish in North English has around 120 families in the area that serves the North English, South English, Kinross, Webster and Millersburg communities. Father David Wilkening serves as pastor of the North English parish, which clusters with the Marengo and Williamsburg parishes.
History: Originally, three small Catholic churches were located in the North English area: Immaculate Conception of Armah, St. Bernard of Millersburg and St. Joseph of North English. The Armah and Millersburg churches, which primarily served an Irish farm population, were built a decade or two after the Civil War. The North English church was built in the early 1900s by Father Joseph McCarville, hence the name St. Joseph.
At first, the rectory for the three small parishes was in rural Armah but moved to North English in 1914 after the Armah house burned. In 1959, under the leadership of Father Ray Pacha, the three parishes made plans to come together to build a new church and rectory on the west side of North English. By November 1963, the dream had become a reality with the dedication of the red brick church.
The church, located across from the English Valley High School, has a large yard that boasts a stone grotto dedicated to the Blessed Mother. The church is handicap accessible with a drive-thru lane where parishioners can be dropped off at the church’s front doors. The church is modern in design and its sanctuary has a massive marble altar large enough for a cathedral.
Prior to COVID-19, the parish had a tradition of celebrating St. Joseph Day on March 19 with a parish potluck. It was advertised as the parish’s “Oasis in the Desert of Lent” when parishioners could and should celebrate their parish’s patronal feast day.
Year of St. Joseph: This year, the Year of St. Joseph, the men of the parish were encouraged to use the book by Father Donald Calloway, MIC, titled “Consecration to St. Joseph” as they prepared for their personal consecration to this saint.
On March 19, 2021, after 33 days of preparation, a good number of men attended an evening Mass to formally consecrate themselves to St. Joseph with the hope of becoming better husbands and fathers.