Founded as the Welcoming Church in 1875
The rich heritage and community that the parishioners of the Church of St. Joseph enjoy today has evolved from a strong foundation of religious unity. This unity was inspired by the Irish immigrants who settled in the Minooka section of Scranton, along with a blend of different nationalities and talents, which laid the foundation for our strong sense of community.
Our parish was established in 1875, when St. Joseph’s Church was built as a result of the development of the coal and iron industries in the 1850’s, and the large number of Catholic families who migrated from the Carbondale area to the lower valley. During that time, the earliest Catholic residents of Minooka belonged to St. Vincent’s Parish ( now St. Peter’s ) in Scranton. Weekly, they made the six-mile round journey to Sunday mass on foot. Hence, with the increased population and need our church was established.
Father John Loughran, St. Joseph’s first pastor, served the parish for 25 years. Father Thomas Rea, a native from Ireland, as the second pastor in 1900, inaugurated the Temperance Society and St. Joe’s Cadets.
It was during the mine strikes and the Great Depression that St. Joseph’s rectory was the soup kitchen for the town, meeting the needs of the less fortunate with dignity and generosity.
The original church was renovated in the mid-thirties under the direction of Father William J. Flynn. Father Flynn during the Second World War initiated the Shamrock Bulletin to unite the members of the Parish at home in the armed forced.
Father Leo Burns was named pastor of St. Joseph’s in 1975 and soon afterward recognized the need for a new church to meet the demands of our religious community. Our present church was dedicated by Bishop J. Carroll McCormick on November 25, 1979.
Since 1994, with the strong spiritual leadership of our tenth pastor, Rev. John M. Lapera, the Church of St. Joseph has made a remarkable and noteworthy commitment to community, education, worship, and service. As of June 29, 2005, Father Lapera has been transferred to St. Ignatius Parish in Kingston. Rev. Francis Pauselli has been assigned as the eleventh pastor at the Church of St. Joseph. As of the close of 2006, Rev. Mr. Joseph Donovan who has served as our assistant pastor since 2000, has been reassigned to Nativity of Our Lord Parish in South Scranton.
We, today, as a church family are giving credit to our early ancestors by building on what they have endowed on us. We must continue to strive to make them proud and multiply these blessings into a church community that is a leader in the Scranton Diocese. Currently, under the leadership of Father Pauselli, the Church of St. Joseph is now combined with the parish communities of both Immaculate Conception Church and St. John the Baptist Church from Taylor. We welcome our new friends from the Catholic Communities of Taylor.
CALL TO HOLINESS
At the close of 2008 as part of the Diocese of Scranton’s Call to Holiness, our parish community has changed to meet the demands of the Catholic Church. Our parish community welcomes St. Mary’s of Czestochowa in Greenwood as part of our family. Over the next several months, the churches will solidify into one parish community with three of the four churches closing. The Church of St. Joseph will remain open but will be renamed in the spring/summer of 2009.
A NEW BEGINNING
On November 1, 2009, the Church of St. Joseph became Divine Mercy Parish as the consolidation with St. John the Baptist, Immaculate Conception, and St. Mary’s Czestochowa was completed. A ceremonial inauguration Mass was celebrated followed by formal reception at Via Appia in Taylor. As we move into a new decade Divine Mercy Parish is committed toward strengthening our Catholic faith to meet the challenges of the future.