Parish History

Not far from our present buildings stood a cute little church, St. Margaret’s of Strawberry Vale. In 1961 Bishop James Hill asked Fr. Mike O’Connel to work with the people of St. Margaret’s and other Catholics in the area to develop the parish of St. Joseph’s. What we celebrate today in our parish is the result of the efforts of that core group of families

In the earliest days, that growing community celebrated Mass in the little auditorium of a drive in theatre near where Tillicum Mall sits today. As attendance increased, things became very cramped in that small space. During this time, each family was visited in its home by a fellow parishioner to ask what they might be able to contribute to the building of a church. After an extraordinary effort and wonderful generosity, the current church was built and then consecrated in 1963 by a new Bishop, Remi DeRoo who had arrived in Victoria in 1962.

Many considered the church to be bold in its exterior and interior design. The facet shape of the roof drew attention and the altar was not positioned against the back wall, anticipating the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Later, the school was opened in 1965, envisioned as an opportunity to integrate students from the parish with the children from the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations.

The building on West Burnside Rd with the rectory, parish office and meeting area was built in 1979 after a portion of the parish land was taken for the extension of McKenzie Avenue.

In 1998, in celebration of being rooted in the lives of ordinary working people, and with permission of the Bishop, the parish placed itself explicitly under the patronage of St. Joseph the Worker.

In 2010, again on receipt of  significant donations from parishioners, a major addition and upgrade to the church facilities were completed.

The history of the parish is filled with so many stories of individuals and families who have come forward to volunteer their help. The lists are long with the names of those who have helped with administration, or taught in the religious education program, or cared for the buildings, or helped in preparation of others for the Sacraments, or simply done chores.

During these 50 years, the physical facilities have provided a place for innumerable sacramental, educational, and social moments that have nurtured the life of the Catholic community.