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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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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