Our Parish History

On the south shores of beautiful Lake Erie, nestled in the easternmost corner of Lorain County, home to vineyards that have been "in the family" for nearly a century as well as to businesses that even now continue to sprout, Avon Lake, Ohio claims the vibrant stewardship Roman Catholic parish of Saint Joseph. And while a newcomer or visitor will see state-of-the-art technology and ADA compliance with each glance, this parish is firmly rooted in the history of our faith and family and is a haven of fidelity to our Holy Mother Church and to our deeply-seated Christian values.

From its very inception in 1949, Saint Joseph Parish has indicated its dedication to spreading the Christian message through Catholic education. In fact, the original church first served as classroom to eight grades of students, who entered the brand new St. Joseph School in September of 1950 under the tutelage of the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland. Parishioners attended Mass in the old Avon Lake Theater while the school was being completed, then moved into the original church, which now serves as St. Joseph Hall. Today, parishioners continue to support the efforts of Catholic education in St. Joseph School , a benchmark school in the diocese, presently educating 250 children from kindergarten through eighth grade. And for those who choose public school, the parish provides sacramental preparation for children as part of the Parish School of Religion (PSR) program, which serves students in grades Pre-K through 8.

A parish of the Diocese of Cleveland,  Saint Joseph 's has been served by six pastors in its history.  Father Carl Wernet was succeeded by Father Edward Dickard, Father Albert Kunkel, Father J. Norman Riley, Father Timothy O'Connor, and its current pastor is Father Ronald J. Wearsch who has Avon Lake roots and is glad to be home again!  Father Wearsch arrived June 15, 2013 and was installed as Pastor of St. Joseph Parish on July 28, 2013.  Under Father O'Connor's leadership, this parish has grown, over 18 years, from 800 to nearly 1800 families and has built and dedicated a beautiful new worship space, as well as doubling the classrooms in the school building. In 2013, Saint Joseph is completing its eigth year as a Stewardship Parish , continues a sister relationship with St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Nassau, the Bahamas and is in the Diocesan-mandated Clustering initiative with its partners, Holy Spirit Parish in Avon Lake and St. Raphael Parish in Bay Village.