532 Ave M NW Winter Haven, FL 33881

History of St. Joseph

St. Joseph Church, at first glance, appears as any building of its time and of its city.  A beloved landmark now enveloped by a changing urban setting that may not be as beautiful as the one originally designed.  This, however, is a deception.  It is, in reality, a feature made of living stones, chosen and quarried by a creator who has preceded His workmanship yet, because of the His own life glowing within, makes of any altered setting, a masterpiece. This means that although St. Joseph Church has a definitive past history, it also has one that will never end.

The history you are about to read was compiled for publication in 2003, recording events that happened before St. Joseph or even Winter Haven existed.  Today, another decade of harvest remains to be recorded and decades to come will bear their fruit.  What will you bring? 

Will you come and be seen, to be recorded in a future parish directory?  Will you come and minister, returning gift for gift back to the Giver who blessed you?  What will be your gift, your story and your recollections?  Come and share them with us.  



The Seed of Martyrs

The First Catholic Comes to Polk County

Jesuits Travel to Polk From Tampa

The Early Church in Winter Haven

First Catholic Church in Winter Haven

Two Early Catholics

First Mass Celebrated

Early Catholic Education

Mrs. Ford DeHaven

St. Joseph Named a Parish Church

Father Dennis O'Keefe 1923 - 1926

Lyceum Hall

History of Two Early Organizations

Father Patrick Noland 1928 - 1934

Father John O'Keefe 1934 - 1935

Father Michael J. Brown 1934 - 1942

Catholic Women's Club Activities During This Period

Father John J. Nevin 1942 - 1950 and Father Joseph Barry 1950 - 1952

Father John V. O'Sullivan 1952 - 1956

Gift Shop Begins

Father Charles C. Anderson 1957 - 1964

Nadine Hoffman's Contributions

Father Frank Goodman

Building Continues

Father Matthew J. Connolly 1964 - 1970

Rosalyn Quinn, Office Administrator

Father Vincent E. Smith 1970 - 1981

Some of the Many who Worked with Father Smith

Two Ministries Introduced to the Parish at This Time

Two Administrators Serve the Parish 1982 - 1983

Some of the Many Who Served the Parish at This Time

The Education Endowment Fund Established in 1983

Father Sean Heslin 1984 - 1991

Those Who Assisted Father Heslin

Father Anthony Bluett

Some Who Have Worked with Father Bluett

St. Joseph School Today

Catholic Charities

Vocations From the Parish

Sources Consulted