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History of St Joseph the Worker Church


By 1915, the growing number of Catholics in Fogelsville resulted in the need for Mass and religious instruction. Three Catholic families eventually shared their vision of a church for the area with Father Hugh McMullen, pastor of Saint Catharine of Siena in Allentown.


On Easter Sunday 1936, the first Mass was celebrated in the mission church of Saint Joseph the Worker for 36 Catholic families. The church building was a little red school house known to two generations as the Clover Dell School, at the corner of Snowdrift Road and Second Street in East Fogelsville.


 In early 1947, more renovations were begun and the congregation held services in the Upper Macungie Township School in East Fogelsville. The work was completed by December 25, 1947. Archbishop Dennis Cardinal Dougherty officially established Saint Joseph the Worker in Fogelsville as a parish on June 7, 1948. The church was dedicated by Monsignor Leo G. Fink of Allentown on June 27, 1948.


In 1964, the parish acquired 15 acres of land at Applewood Drive and Clauser Road in Orefield with the intention of eventually constructing a new and larger church. 

Original Church in Fogelsville

Original Church in Fogelsville

Groundbreaking for the new church took place on June 1, 1975. Mass was celebrated for the first time in the new church on May 1, 1976. The parish was moved to Orefield in 1977 and a new rectory was built. A parish center was added in 1981.


The Allentown Diocese retained the old church property in Fogelsville, with one or two Masses celebrated monthly until it was sold in March 1985. On February 23, 1985, the parish held the closing service at the old Fogelsville church. Monsignor Robert J. Wargo, M. Div. was the pastor of Saint Joseph the Worker since the early 1990s. He saw the necessity to expand the church building and construct a parish educational center. Funding was secured though a major capital campaign launched in June 1995. The generosity of Frederick Jaindl allowed the parish to acquire a tract of land across the street on Applewood Drive to build the educational center.


Saint Joseph the Worker Center of Learning was opened to 315 students in grades one through eight on September 2, 1997. With the completion of the school, the expansion of the church was begun. The church expansion was completed on March 8, 1998. Saint Joseph the Worker Parish currently serves over 3000 families.  The current pastor is Rev. Msgr. Victor F. Finelli, V.J., J.C.L, who arrived in 2021.

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