Our Parish History


A Parishioner of St. Mary Catholic Church in Berea, Mrs. O’Grady, sent a letter to Bishop Edward Hoban asking for a parish to be formed in Strongsville. Thus, in June, St. Joseph Parish was founded in Strongsville, with Fr. Joseph McGraw being appointed as the first pastor. With 170 families forming the parish, the first members of St. Joseph Parish celebrated their first Mass in the Strongsville town hall on June 30. From September to December, a Quonset hut was erected on the newly purchased 50 acre plot of land to serve as the temporary Church.



Saint Joseph Elementary School welcomed students in grades 1st through 8th for the first time giving Strongsville their first educational facility for Catholic teaching.



Fr. James McDonough became the 2nd pastor of St. Joseph Church. Fr. McDonough formerly was an English professor at St. John’s College. In his new role as pastor, he was tasked with building the new permanent church building.



Construction began on our present church. As work was beginning, the Second Vatican Council was in session, so design decisions were carefully thought out. Rauschenbach, Casini, and Urban were selected to be the architects for the large project due to their experience with other churches in the area.



The newly constructed church was completed and dedicated. 1965 A large tornado outbreak on April 11th (Palm Sunday) all but destroyed the Quonset hut and extensively damaged the school Sunday. Thankfully, the new church building survived with only minor damage.



Fr. Robert Donohoe, who previously worked to institute Pre-Cana marriage preparation classes throughout the United States, became the 3rd pastor of St. Joseph Church.



With the forming of a new parish in Strongsville, St. John Neumann, Cardinal Hickey and the Diocesan Catholic School Building Committee made the decision to create an interparochial school to accept and serve students from both parishes. Sts. Joseph and John Interparochial School was formed.



Fr. Anthony Dodd, who had an aptitude for carpentry and fixing things, became the 4th pastor at St. Joseph Church.



Fr. Robert Sanson, who had been a professor at The Catholic University of America, became the 5th pastor of St. Joseph Church.



An expansion of the church campus including the addition of meeting rooms, new offices, and a gathering space named the Holy Family Center (HFC) was completed.



A renovation to update the altar and move the baptismal font from the back of church up to the front was completed.



A renovation of Mary House was completed by a team of parishioner volunteers who donated all the materials and labor.



Fr. Joseph Mamich, a native of Strongsville, became the 6th pastor of St. Joseph Church.  At the time of his appointment, he was the youngest pastor in the Diocese of Cleveland, a distinction that he kept for almost three years.



  • St. Joseph Day 2012 saw the completion of a restoration project on the electronic controls of our bells, thus restoring the sounds of our bells to our neighborhood.
  • Painting of many interior spaces of the parish were completed, particularly the Holy Family Center and Vestibules.
  • August 2012 brought the beginning of a new Senior Adult Group - the Carpenters'.
  • Our parish, as did the entire Diocese, completed the Rooted in Faith Campaign, raising over $1.3 million in pledges from our parish.


Following two extensive floods, it was decided that Mary House was to be abandoned and torn down. It served the parish well - as our first Rectory, convent, and then mostly recently, a place for meetings and storage. Unfortunately, the water damage took its toll.  While creating a visible absence on our property, it has opened a better view of the church and school bulidings from Pearl Road and helped to create a welcoming entrance.

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the dedication of our current church, we had a special Mass and reception in May. Beyond our current parishioners, it was a privilege to welcome back Fr. Dennis O'Grady, whose mother orginally wrote Archbishop Hoban about forming a new parish in Strongsville. We also had nearly three dozen parishioners present who were there for the dedication in 1965!

With praise and thanksgiving to God, we celebrated the ordination of Father James Kulway, who was baptized and grew up in the parish, to the Priesthood. With him, our parish has given formation to three priests of the Diocese, two deacons of the Diocese, and several Sisters of the Congregation of St. Joseph.