Parish History

History of St. Joseph's Catholic Community

Catholics have gathered in Grand Rapids since the 1870s, when visiting missionary priests served a handful of Catholic families by celebrating mass and baptizing children.

In 1892, the growing community of Catholics began to build its first church, funded through the efforts of local women and the resources of north woods lumberjacks.   This was proof of their belief that a community needs a place to gather and to worship.  The original Church was constructed for a cost of $2,000, raised by local women crafts and baked items.   St. Joseph's Catholic as a Catholic Church was Incorporated on March 19, 1894, the Feast Day of our Patron, St. Joseph. 

Many times during the next several decades, members of this Catholic community proved their commitment to meet their growing needs.  When they needed a home for the first resident pastor, they built a rectory.  When their original church was completely destroyed by fire, they built a new church.    When they saw the value of educating children in a faith-based environment, they built a school.

When their church creaked with age or burst with a growing population, they  repaired and expanded it.  And in the late 1990s, knowing they needed an entirely new space, they examined their values, gathered their resources and created a place to worship, a place to gather, a place to educate parishioners of all ages, a place to minister to fellow parishioners and a place to share and grow in faith.   


Welcome to that place!

In 2002, just two years after moving into our new church, parish members began efforts to move the school to our current church campus.  On June 9, 2010, ten years (almost exactly to the day) from the church groundbreaking, another groundbreaking ceremony took place for our new education center! Pre-School thru Grade 6, SAC (our after school program), Pre-School thru Grade 12 Faith Formation, and our Youth Ministry will share this new education center complimented with a parish library,  gymnasium, outdoor courtyard, commons area and meeting spaces! 

By the hard work, hands, and hearts of many, our new education space opened the fall of 2011.  Now we embrace the possibilities we only could imagine before!