St. Francis Church Toronto at 409 Grant St, Toronto, OH 43964 US - Saint Joseph Parish HistoryCorner River & BelmontToronto, Ohio 43964
Saint Joseph Parish History
Corner River & Belmont
Toronto, Ohio 43964
The Slovak people began to migrate to the Toronto area in the 1880’s. In 1906 a committee asked the Bishop of Columbus to allow the organization of a new parish. The Bishop encouraged them. However, it was not until 1926 that he was able to send a priest who could speak their tongue.
Father Andrew R. Beros began working with his people. In the fall of 1927 the parish church was in use and the school was in operation under the care of the Sisters of Loretta. In 1939 a recreation hall at the edge of town became the center of social activities for the parish. In 1945 the Diocese of Steubenville was formed.
Monsignor Andrew Beros would lead Saint Joseph Parish for another 27 years. As the diocese was founded, the Saint Joseph Church building was undergoing renovation. In the parish school, the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius replaced the Sisters of Loretta in 1949. In 1950 the Shrine of our Lady of Fatima was built. The convent was remodeled and enlarged in 1960. Once more in the late 1960’s the church was renovated to conform to the changes called for in the Second Vatican Council. When in 1970 the sisters were withdrawn from the parish school, Saint Francis School became Saint Francis Central School and served both Toronto parishes.
Saint Joseph Parish celebrated its forty years with a ruby Jubilee celebration and much festivity. Monsignor Beros retired as pastor in June of 1972 after 46 years of dedicated service as founding pastor.
Father George Voytko became the second pastor of Saint Joseph Parish in the summer of 1972. Under his leadership the faceted stained glass windows and new lighting were installed in the church. The former convent became the parish rectory while the former rectory became a meeting facility for the various parish groups.
Father Roger J. Foys was named third pastor in January of 1980. The former rectory was renovated into a convent and the Vincentian Sisters of Charity were invited to Toronto. On December 9, 1982, the parish received the news of its founder’s death.
In 1983 both Brother Anthony Motto and Father Kurt H. Kemo joined the parish staff. During these years the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults began, the marriage preparation team and confirmation teams were formed and the parish began working on a five-year spiritual and temporal renewal plan. Advent and Lenten Sunday Vespers were introduced to the parish as well as a Summer Vacation Bible School.