St Joseph University Catholic Church, located at 3269 Main Street, is a treasure of the University Heights neighborhood. Unlike the average Catholic city parish, St. Joseph has experienced an increase in membership over the last two decades, with a current total membership of over 1800 households coming from over 50 different zip codes. The parish has dedicated itself to the neighborhood and to community outreach. One of the more prominent efforts of the parish has been its school. The St. Joseph University School is the oldest continually operating Catholic elementary school in the city of Buffalo, first opening in 1850. The school reflects the diversity of the parish and the neighborhood with a student body that is 63% minority and non-Catholic. This institution provides quality education for its students, as reflected in 100% of graduating eighth graders who were accepted to their first choice high schools in 2012.
In addition to its school, St. Joseph University Parish takes seriously the Catholic Social Justice Teachings: staffing two soup kitchens on the second Saturday of each month, one located in Black Rock at Assumption RC Church and the other downtown at the Friends of the Night People; providing monthly donations to four different food pantries in the city; collaborating with Sts Columba-Brigid Church on Hickory Street in hosting homeless families through Family Promise; establishing a Habitat for Humanity crew; forming an active VOICE core team dedicated to neighborhood improvement; and organizing a Social Justice Concerns Committee, which educates and works for change at the national and international levels. St. Joseph also has a variety of social and liturgical ministries that provide parishioners with other opportunities to participate in the work of the parish.
St. Joseph University Church is an English Gothic building designed by a Buffalo architect, Duane Lyman and built in 1925. The parish is known for its hospitality, its outstanding music, and it’s challenging homilies. The Sunday morning 10:00 am service features a traditional church choir and organ; the 11:30 am service has a more contemporary sound with a mix of gospel and jazz. The parish also provides religious services for students of the University of Buffalo’s South Campus.
The mission of the pastoral staff and the congregation is “All Are Welcome!”