New church dedicated in Downingtown

Msgr. Joseph C. McLoone (left), pastor of St. Joseph parish, and the Rev. Brian Kean offer incense during Saturday's dedication rite.
Msgr. Joseph C. McLoone (left), pastor of St. Joseph parish, and the Rev. Brian Kean offer incense during Saturday's dedication rite. (CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 17, 2013

Two weeks after announcing the painful consolidation of 24 parishes into 10, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia had something to celebrate Saturday in Chester County.

St. Joseph parish in Downingtown, the second-largest in the archdiocese, with 4,400 families and more than 14,500 parishioners, opened a new $9.6 million church with a rite of solemn dedication by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.

The new church on Manor Avenue, with seating for 1,200, incorporated stained-glass windows from closed Philadelphia churches. It replaces one built in 1971 that could seat 850.

"It's great to see the people who really paid for, worked for, prayed for this new church building, to get to see their reaction when they move into the church for the first time and see the beauty of it," Msgr. Joseph C. McLoone said Saturday. About 1,200 parishioners, priests, community officials, and others were expected to attend.

The parish, founded in 1851, is projected to grow 27 percent by 2030, reaching more than 5,300 families, according to an undated document on the parish's capital campaign for the new church. The report said the archdiocese had no plans for new parishes within St. Joseph's boundaries.

The largest parish in the archdiocese, which covers five Southeastern Pennsylvania counties, is St. Andrew in Newtown. It had 6,025 families and 19,500 registered Catholics in 2011, according to the latest data on the archdiocesan website.

The goal of St. Joseph's capital campaign, started in February 2010, was to raise $6 million. As of March 2012, when ground was broken for the church, the parish had received $5.3 million in pledges, according to an article in CatholicPhilly.com, an archdiocesan publication.

St. Joseph parish started planning for its new church in 2007, when it was led by Msgr. William Lynn, who became the first Catholic Church official charged and convicted of a supervisory role in the clergy sex-abuse scandal.

Lynn, the late Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua's secretary of the Office for Clergy from 1992 to 2004, was sentenced last summer to three to six years in prison.

St. Joseph joins other new Catholic churches in the suburbs. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish Church in Schwenksville opened in October.

In August 2011, the archdiocese dedicated St. Rocco Church in Avondale. It specializes in serving Spanish-speaking Catholics in southern Chester County.


Contact Harold Brubaker at 215-854-4651 or hbrubaker@phillynews.com.

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