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St. Joseph Parish

17735 Bennetts Valley Hwy
Force, PA 15841
Founded 1906



Parish History

Saint Joseph Parish in Force, Pa serves the 15 villages of Bennetts Valley in both Elk and Clearfield counties.  We are a thriving family community "in the middle of the Valley.  The nearest parish to the north is Saint Boniface in Kersey, PA, 12 miles.  Approximately 20 miles to the south are the parishes of St. Catherine of Sienna, Saint Michael the Archangel and Saint Joseph Parishes, all in DuBoise, PA.

In the heart of the Diocese of Erie , Bennetts Valley is a lovely nature's paradise about 45 miles long situated in the lush "Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania and passes through Cameron, Elk and Clearfield counties.

The parish was established in 1906 by Archbishop John Mark Gannon.  Our first pastor was the Reverend Joseph Orlando.  The parishioners gave of their time, talent and treasure and our church was built that very same year.  

The early history of St. Joseph Parish is a story of real people striving to make a life and living.  The early settlers of the area were mostly immigrants from Ireland, Italy and Poland.  The men worked in the local coal mines where their tools consisted of a pick and a shovel.  The year 1963 marked a time of consolidation of parishes when nearby churches were closed and merged with St. Joseph.  These included St. Cecelia in Benezette, PA (1872 - 1963); St. Stanislaus in Tyler, PA (1906 - 1963) and Our Lady Help of Christians, Burnedale, PA (1902 - 1963). 

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Brief History of Bennetts Valley and St. Joseph Parish. One Hundred Years of Catholicism in Benetts Valley, Force, PA, 1972, p. 13-22, 33-35. CAP at Orchard Lake.

A history of the Polish Roman Catholic parishes in western Pennsylvania & their contribution, Rev. Joseph L. Sredzinski, Everson, Penna. 2000, p. 93.

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We Need Your Help with Historical Preservation

If you have any important documents or other materials related to this parish and would like to share them with us, please contact us at:

Remember these materials, for example, parish jubilee books, celebrations of priests’ anniversaries, church and/or parish photos, pamphlets, etc., may be valuable to the next generation and may become lost forever.  Your contributions of historical materials may enrich our Polish American Liturgical Center website and archives and they will become a living memorial to your loved ones and your parish history.

We ask you to make an effort to help preserve your parish history as a memorial to all the parishioners who have contributed to making it a magnificent place of worship. We ask you to check the correctness of information about this parish and let us know if it’s incorrect.
May God reward your kindness!


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