Welcome to St. Joseph Church in Mantua, Ohio . . .
a community that centers itself around the celebration of the Eucharist and service to parishioners and the surrounding community. We have a wonderful parish setting for worship, for parish programs of youth and adult education, and for the enjoyment of our local community with our spacious grounds. Enjoy the uniqueness that is St. Joseph Church as you browse through this Tour of St. Joseph's.
As you enter the property of St. Joseph Church you'll immediately notice the beautiful grounds of nearly 42 acres that enable us to host of various parish and community activities including the annual Ox Roast Fair and Crestwood area baseball, soccer, and other activities.
The rectory is located at 4534 Pioneer Trail, corner of St. Joseph Blvd., just as you enter St. Joseph Blvd. Used as a convent until 1990, this home is where the priest resides.
Driving down the Boulevard you'll notice soccer & baseball fields, tractor pull track, and various storage buildings. The 30' x 60' pavilion that is used for the Ox Roast Fair, Pet Blessing, outdoor Masses, and other parish and community functions was a Boy Scout Eagle Project of Chris Walters in 1998. T.J. Dick wired it for electricity in 2000 as his Eagle Project.
As you come around the corner, you enter the parking lot
for the church, school building, and parish center & offices.
Entering The Church
In 1999, St. Joseph's Garden Club planned, funded and coordinated the completion of the new brick entrance to the church with the help of many parishioners who gave of their time and talent.
2001 brought the addition of a wonderful piece of artwork by world famous sculptor Joseph Turkaly, entitled "Joseph & the Children", mounted in the covered entranceway in an alcove especially designed for it. For a detailed look at this art piece and the sculptor, click on the link above.
Father Garvey blessed our new church doors at the 11:15 a.m. Mass on Sunday, November 30, 2014. The new church entry doors allow plenty of light to enter the Narthex and provide a beautiful and secure welcome to parishioners and visitors. Designed and installed by Radiant Arts of Beach City, Ohio, the project was coordinated by members of the Worship Committee.
Etched crosses adorned the two entry doors and angels are on either side.
Trinity symbols are above the doors - The Eye of God is a symbol that is representative of divine watchfulness, of the Supreme Being taking care of the entire universe. It is shown as a single human eye enclosed in a triangle and often surrounded by clouds or burst of light.
The Chi Rho is one of the earliest cruciform symbols used by Christians. It is formed by superimposing the first two letters of the word "Christ" in Greek, chi = ch and rho = r. Although not technically a cross, the Chi Rho invokes the crucifixion of Jesus as well as symbolizing his status as the Christ.
The Holy Spirit is represented by the dove, an emblem of purity, innocence, and the gentle Savior bringing peace to mankind through His sacrifice.
As you walk through the main doors of the church, you enter the Narthex, a vestibule leading to the nave of a church. Ushers and greeters cheerfully welcome you in this gathering space. When people enter the church, they prepare themselves to receive Jesus at Mass. This area is also where liturgical ministers gather for the procession that starts Mass. Various information is distributed here as well as collections, fundraisers, and other events. Our church banner and St. Joseph statue hold prominent places in the Narthex. As the faithful leave Mass, they prepare to bring the light of Christ to others making it a very important area.
Upon entering the church proper, we find ourselves in a large room. This is the main section of the church where the assembly of the faithful gathers for Mass. At the head of the aisle, you can see the sanctuary and the altar.
One of the first things we see and hear is the Baptismal font, reminding Catholics that every time they come to Eucharist they come through baptism. We dip our hand in holy font water located by each door of the church and mark ourselves anew with that sign in which we were baptized - the sign of the cross.
The remodeling of our Baptismal font was completed during the summer of 2014 with the addition of liturgical symbols. The water of river is symbolic of life giving sanctifying grace that wash away original sin and give us the promise of eternal life. The shell is symbolic of God the Father pouring forth salvation to the world. The large fish, which was used in the early church as a gathering sign for believers, stands for Christ. The smaller fish represent the members of the Church today living in the waters of faith. Lastly, the dove represents the Holy Spirit who came down on Our Lord at his Baptism by John in the Jordan River. The art work was done by Radiant Arts of Beach City, Ohio. The presentation was completed in memory of Roy Brugmann, a long time member of our community.
Standing by the baptismal pool is a large candle, the paschal candle. At the Paschal Vigil on the eve of Easter Sunday this candle was dipped into the waters of the baptismal pool as the Church prayed that the Holy Spirit unseal this font to become the womb of new life for the Church. As the candle is placed in the water we pray: "May all who are buried with Christ in the death of baptism rise also with him to newness of life" (Prayers for the Easter Vigil). This prayer takes on special meaning at funerals when this water is sprinkled on the casket as it arrives at the church door.
Also in this baptismal area, you will see a little chest on the wall, the ambry, which contains three vessels of oil: the oil of catechumens which is used to bless and strengthen those preparing for baptism; the oil of the sick with which the priest brings Jesus' strength and healing to those who are joined with the suffering Christ in serious illness; and the sacred chrism which is used in celebrating the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders. The word "Christ" means "anointed," and when one is anointed with holy oil it is a sign of a special relationship with Christ, the Anointed One.
Focus of the Sacred Action
From wherever we stand in the church, our attention is drawn to the focal area of the liturgical action and to the three pieces of furniture we find there: the presider's chair, the ambo, and the altar. Formerly this area was called the sanctuary, but when "sanctuary is used we must be careful not to imply that this is the only holy area in the building, for indeed the entire church, the entire assembly area, is a holy place.
In the front of the assembly area we find a very special seat for the one presiding and leading the assembly. This seating is arranged so that the presiding and functioning ministers are "clearly part of the assembly, yet conveniently situated for the exercise of their respective offices".
Also in this focus area we see a reading stand, the ambo from which we proclaim the Word of God and upon which is placed the lectionary, the book of readings from Sacred Scripture. Preaching can be done from the ambo, the chair or elsewhere.
The altar is the holy table upon which we celebrate the Lord's Supper. It functions as both altar of sacrifice and banquet table for the Eucharist, and is both "a memorial of Christ's death and resurrection" and "a paschal banquet.
When the Eucharist is celebrated the table is covered with an altar cloth or table cloth. On the altar is placed the bread and wine for Mass. The bread is on a bread plate or paten (from patella, meaning "platter," "plate") and the wine is poured into a chalice (from calix, the Latin word for "cup" or "goblet").
We will also find in our worship space reminders of Jesus' great sacrifice for us. St. Joseph's is blessed to have a beautiful Crucifix (from Latin cruci fixus meaning "(one) fixed to a cross") has a prominent place behind the altar (added March 11, 2017). Obtained from the warehouse of Henninger’s in Cleveland (authorized agent for the disposition of items from closed parishes in the Cleveland, Youngstown, Toledo and Steubenville Dioceses), the Crucifix came from St. Hedwig Church in Toledo and was a gift to the parish from an anonymous donor. The Crucifix emphasizes Jesus' sacrifice — his death by crucifixion, which Christians believe brought about the redemption of mankind.
Our Processional Cross also shows Jesus dying on the cross and is used in processions (sometimes preceded by incense and flanked or followed with candles). The cross is brought up to the altar by an altar server who has been chosen to serve as crucifer.
The Eucharist is kept in the tabernacle in a designated space near the altar. The purpose of this reservation is to bring communion to the sick and to be the object of private devotion. A red votive candle serves Catholics as the sign that the consecrated bread is present there.
The previous Eucharistic Chapel space in the southeast corner of the church will be converted to a special area in honor of Saint Joseph. An artist is carving a new statue of our patron saint. Our current Saint Joseph, which is part of a a Holy Family statue set created in 1983, is located in the Narthex and is deteriorating. Rick Cermak, a local artist and member of St. Joe's, is currently carving a new piece that will be placed in the corner where the tabernacle used to be located.
Statue of Blessed Mary
A statue of Mary in one corner of our church allows Catholics to light a votive candle as a reminder that their prayers continue even after they leave the church. This particular statue is a gift from the Kotkowski family in March of 2017 in memory of Rita Kotkowski for her devotion to the Rosary. Mary is very special because she is the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church. Devotions to Mary take place during May crowning and other special observances. [For a look at Holy Family statues from the past, click here]
Cantors, choir, and instrumentalists are all an important and enhancing part of the sacred liturgy. The Ministry of Music provides music during weekend Masses, holy days, weddings, funerals and Reconciliation services.
In the corner of the church near the Marian statue is the confessional. The faithful have the choice between speaking face-to-face with the priest or the anonymity provided by the confessional screen. St. Joseph's also participates in communal penance services within the Portage County deanery during Advent and Lent.
Stations of the Cross
Across the west wall of the church you will find the Way of the Cross, pictures (numbered from 1 to 14) of incidents in the last journey of Jesus from Pilate's house, where he was condemned to death, to his entombment. The faithful go to each of the stations and meditate on an event of the passion typically during the season of Lent.
As you leave the worship space you'll see the Risen Christ piece showing Jesus after he rose from the dead. Originally behind the altar since 1983, the piece was moved to the wall above the exit in March of 2017. Worshippers are encouraged to "Go to the entire world and preach my Good News in all creation" (Matthew 10:5,6). To find out the history of this beautiful sculpture by Sister Evangeline Doyle, OP, click here. The altar space now has the crucifix that came from St. Hedwig Church in Toledo that was a gift to the parish from an anonymous donor in March of 2017.
The sacristy is where the priests, deacons, altar servers, Eucharistic ministers, and lectors prepare for Mass. Everything for Mass set-up as well as the vestments of the priests and deacons are kept here. St. Joseph's has front sacristy and back sacristy areas.
A room off the Narthex that connects to the school building is used for meetings, a PSR classroom, prayer groups, and our Altar of Repose during Holy Week. In the past it has been used as a teacher's lounge and day chapel among other things.
School Building & Hughes Hall
The school building, which is attached to the church, has 9 classrooms, computer lab and library spaces, kitchen and a social hall for parish and community activities, all-purpose room, conference room, administrative offices, restrooms, and service areas. Currently, the space is used for our PSR program, parish group meetings, events and activities, meetings and activities for Cub Scout Pack #3575 and Boy Scout Troop #575, and Girl Scout troops, AA meetings, Promise Homeschool Co-op sessions, and various community events and other rentals.
St. Joseph Catholic School (1962-2010) closed at end
of the 2009-2010 school year due to declining enrollment.
For a look at this legacy of quality Catholic education,
please visit our St. Joseph School history page.
Hughes Hall is available for rentals pending schedule availability. The space has a 250 person capacity and kitchen facilities. Each individual/group who wishes to rent the Hall will be reviewed on an individual basis. Please contact the Parish Office (330-274-2253) for complete details.
Parish Center & Offices
The Parish Center is the building at the end of the parking lot (it looks like a house and was, in fact, previously used as the priest's residence and parish offices). Here you will find the Pastor's office, the Pastoral Minister's office, secretarial and bookkeeping offices, plus a large meeting room, kitchen, and basement and garage storage areas.