St. Joseph Catholic Church
The first pioneers arrived in the Settlement of Bay Creek around 1790. These pioneers were Roman Catholic and typically French Canadian. Their first task was to clear the dense walnut tree stands behind the shores of Maumee Bay, along Lake Erie. Despite many hardships, these hardy French pioneers worked and worshipped together in a small community.
Their first church was a primitive log building, built in 1819, and located on the north side of Bay Creek near Lake Erie. The log church was 25’ x 35’ in size and noted to have a high ceiling. The log church was replaced in 1826 by a frame building on the south side of Bay Creek near Lake Erie. The present brick building was built in 1851 on a more accessible site on the north side of Bay Creek, further inland from Lake Erie. The church was consecrated by Bishop Peter Paul LeFever in 1852.
Prior to 1850, this geographic area was referred to as the Settlement of Bay Creek, or La Baie, as the French called it. In fact, the church was called St. Joseph Sur La Baie in its early years. Around 1850, the Settlement of Bay Creek became known as Vienna, and then subsequently, Erie.
Fr. Gabriel Richard of Detroit was the first traveling priest to support the Catholic community from 1798 to 1820. In his last two years, Fr. Richard would celebrate Mass at the log church. From 1820 to 1833, priests from the Monroe area traveled to support the young church. In 1833, Fr. John DeBruyn became the first resident pastor.
The history of St. Joseph Catholic Parish is one of faith, education, and community life, centered on the Eucharist, guided by His Word, and strengthened through the sacraments and service to others. St. Joseph Catholic Parish is the second oldest church in Monroe County and the third oldest church in the Archdiocese of Detroit. Today, St. Joseph Catholic Parish, located in Erie, MI, continues to be a faith based community of believers who seek to make Jesus Christ known to others through discipleship and evangelization. St. Joseph Catholic Parish proudly, yet humbly, celebrates its 200th year anniversary in 2019.
Prayer to St. Joseph: OH, SAINT JOSEPH, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interest and desires. Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers. Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me; and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen