Whether you come from across the street, around the corner, from another country, whether you are a parishioner or visitor, we extend a warm welcome! We are blessed that you have chosen to worship with us. We encourage you to complete a parish registration form as this will ensure that you receive current news and information and will help if any sacraments are needed. Register online at the link or contact us for a hard copy form. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us! Joseph.email@example.com
To eradicate social isolation and disconnection by keeping alive the Memory of the Passion in our hearts.
To inspire spiritual maturity in outwardly focused Christians by nurturing in them love for the Crucified Creation and serve the common good.
We seek the unity of our lives and our apostolate in the Passion of Jesus. His Passion reveals the power of God which penetrates the world, destroying the power of evil and building up the Kingdom of God.
We are Here Because of Your Generosity
St. Joseph’s has many parishioners contributing by being members of various ministries, sharing their Treasure, Time and Talents to serve our parish and the larger community, and praying for our parish.
Feel free to share your information using the Ministry Brochure, if you would like more information about any of our ministries. We will arrange for someone from the ministry to attend to your enquiry.
If now is not the time for you to make any parish commitment, please do keep St Joseph’s in your prayers and accompany us spiritually. Thank you very much for discerning! You can always consider joining our ministries in future!
About the Parish
St. Joseph’s Church is a harmonious blending of the Romanesque and Byzantine styles, and was designed by the architect Albert Vicars of Somerset Chambers, 151 Strand. It is a listed building, described by English Heritage as outstanding. The church is 146 feet long and more than 55 feet wide. The dome is estimated to weigh, with its supporting brickwork, 2000 tons. The dome, of copper with a patina of green, is 130 feet above the level of the cross of St.Paul’s, and can be seen from such varied vantage points as a train returning to King’s Cross, Hampstead Heath and indeed, from far across London. While the dome may be the most familiar feature, the church itself would repay a visit, with its Italian interior and serene spaciousness.
One of the key features inside the church is the baldachino, or canopy, over the high altar. The altar piece is made from Sicilian marble, and the cylindrical steel safe of the tabernacle is from the 1861 church. A comparison of the records shows that the surrounds and the dome of the tabernacle are an exact copy, in marble, of the original wooden surrounds, found not only on the first altar in this church, but even in the previous church of 1861.
The mosaic pavement in the sanctuary is made from material taken from the bed of the River Severn, and is reputed to be more durable and more costly than marble.
Another feature is the hand painted, segmental, vaulted ceiling painted by Nathaniel Westlake in 1891. It is said by some art critics to be one of the finest of Westlake’s work. Each segment of the ceiling has an angel carrying a scroll with a verse from the Te Deum, the church’s great hymn of thanksgiving. Beginning over the organ gallery and ending at the entrance to the sanctuary, the whole hymn is reproduced. There are 250 panels in all and the ceiling is 53 feet high from floor to internal apex.
The church has a fine four-manual organ built by the famous organ builder, William Hill & Sons. Acquired around 1947, it was installed as a memorial to members of the parish who had lost their lives in the Second World War. There is a dedication plaque to this effect in the Church. Recently awarded a Grade I Certificate by the British Institute of Organ Studies, it is described as ‘a rare example of an instrument by Hill & Son 1898, in original condition’. We are currently engaged in a work of refurbishment and continue to enjoy the improved quality of the organ as this work progresses. Donations are welcome!
St. Joseph’s was established in the mid-1850’s, at a time when the relaxation of legal control over Catholicism was taking place. The Catholic community was expanding because of the railroads, but there was still considerable suspicion, resentment and open prejudice from the largely Protestant population of London, and indeed Highgate.
When Father Ignatius Spencer was seeking a home for the Passionists in London, the Old Black Dog Inn at Highgate seemed suitable, but could only be inspected by subterfuge. The Priests visited the property in disguise so they would be unrecognised – less than 10 years previously the owner had refused to sell the property as he dreamed that it would be bought by Papists, and at this time there had been an anti-Catholic riot in Highgate High Street.
Buying the property at auction was only the first of the problems to be overcome, as the acquisition and construction needed to be funded, and at that time the funds did not exist!
Father Ignatius approached his nephew, the fifth Earl Spencer, to seek funds. He recommenced an annuity of £300 pa, which had been with-held by the family when the Honourable and Reverend George Spencer had converted to Catholicism.
Although Father Ignatius died in 1864 and did not see his work come to fruition, the local Catholic community grew rapidly, and a chapel attached to the old pub was replaced by a purpose built church in 1861, but even this became to small and so the work of building the current St. Joseph’s commenced on 24th May 1888. The construction was overseen by the enthusiastic Brother Alphonsus Zeegers, working in habit and stonemason’s apron.
On the evening of 21st November 1889 the new church building was blessed by the Bishop of Liverpool, but this triumph for the community was matched by a burden of debt that would not be repaid for a further 43 years. On 28th April 1932, the debt having been finally cleared by the efforts of the community the church was finally consecrated.
Feast Days – 19 March (Joseph the Husband of Mary); 1 May (Joseph the Worker).
Everything we know about the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus comes from Scripture and that has seemed too little for those who made up legends about him.
We know he was a carpenter, a working man, for the skeptical Nazarenes ask about Jesus, “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” (Matthew 13:55). He wasn’t rich for when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb (Luke 2:24).
Despite his humble work and means, Joseph came from a royal lineage. Luke and Matthew disagree some about the details of Joseph’s genealogy but they both mark his descent from David, the greatest king of Israel (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38). Indeed the angel who first tells Joseph about Jesus greets him as “son of David,” a royal title used also for Jesus.
We know Joseph was a compassionate, caring man. When he discovered Mary was pregnant after they had been betrothed, he knew the child was not his but was as yet unaware that she was carrying the Son of God. He planned to divorce Mary according to the law but he was concerned for her suffering and safety. He knew that women accused to adultery could be stoned to death, so he decided to divorce her quietly and not expose her to shame or cruelty (Matthew 1:19-25).
We know Joseph was man of faith, obedient to whatever God asked of him without knowing the outcome. When the angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him the truth about the child Mary was carrying, Joseph immediately and without question or concern for gossip, took Mary as his wife. When the angel came again to tell him that his family was in danger, he immediately left everything he owned, all his family and friends, and fled to a strange country with his young wife and the baby. He waited in Egypt without question until the angel told him it was safe to go back (Matthew 2:13-23).
We know Joseph loved Jesus. His one concern was for the safety of this child entrusted to him. Not only did he leave his home to protect Jesus, but upon his return settled in the obscure town of Nazareth out of fear for his life. When Jesus stayed in the Temple we are told Joseph (along with Mary) searched with great anxiety for three days for him (Luke 2:48). We also know that Joseph treated Jesus as his own son for over and over the people of Nazareth say of Jesus, “Is this not the son of Joseph?” (Luke 4:22)
We know Joseph respected God. He followed God’s commands in handling the situation with Mary and going to Jerusalem to have Jesus circumcised and Mary purified after Jesus’ birth. We are told that he took his family to Jerusalem every year for Passover, something that could not have been easy for a working man.
Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus’ public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph probably had died before Jesus entered public ministry.
Joseph is the patron of the dying because, assuming he died before Jesus’ public life, he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth.
Joseph is also patron of the universal Church, fathers, carpenters, and social justice.
We celebrate two feast days for Joseph: March 19 for Joseph the Husband of Mary and May 1 for Joseph the Worker.
There is much we wish we could know about Joseph — where and when he was born, how he spent his days, when and how he died. But Scripture has left us with the most important knowledge: who he was — “a righteous man” (Matthew 1:18).
The Congregation of the Passion, initials CP, more commonly known to us as The Passionists are a religious order of the Roman Catholic Church founded by St Paul of the Cross in Italy in 1720. The Passionist order was brought to England by the Blessed Dominic Barberi whose vocation was to pray for England and for Christian Unity. The Passionist who was most influential in the history of St. Joseph’s was Father Ignatius Spencer, who preached Ecumenism in this country long before it became an accepted aim for all Christians.
Following St Paul of the Cross’s example, the Passionists wear a long black robe with the sacred heart and cross emblem, and in addition to the usual religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, they take a fourth vow to promote the loving memory of the Passion of Christ. Their aim is to “preach the crucified Christ to all people”. Through prayer and meditation on the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ, they can empathise with human suffering from a different, redeeming perspective by reaching out to the hidden resources of the soul. By giving up their personal life for the sake of Christ, they are free to give Christian love and understanding to people from all walks of life, and instill in them a new approach to suffering. In a materialistic society such as ours at the end of the 20th century, it is good to know that the Passionists are there, getting closer to God through prayer and meditation on our behalf, testifying to the power of the spirit to change people and events.
St. Paul of the Cross, Our Founder
St. Paul of the Cross was born in Ovada, Italy in 1694. He was drawn early to a life of prayer and good works, and this path finally led him to form the Congregation of the Passion. Missioner extraordinary, mystic who reached surpassing heights of contemplation and spiritual guide. He prayed for fifty years for the return of England to christian unity. Died in 1775.
For further reading you may click on this link St Paul of the Cross
The Blessed Dominic Barberi
The Blessed Dominic Barberi CP was one of the glories of the Church in England. Born near Rome in 1792 and orphaned at a young age, he was denied a proper education by family circumstances, but received a divine intimation early in his life that he would one day work in Northern Europe and England. He joined the Passionists, faced and overcame continuing obstacles in the pursuit of his divine call, and finally came to England in 1841. He died in 1849 worn out with preaching missions and work for the return of England to christian unity. He is buried in the Passionist church in St. Helen’s, Lancs. During his life he received John Henry Newman into the Catholic Church. Beatified in 1963 during the Second Vatican Council. Another miracle is needed for his canonization.
Parish Priest – Fr. George Koloth, C. P. , Fr. Jenish, C. P.(Asst.)
Betty Pires, Jennifer Buckley, Kamila Copeman, Lorraine Redmond(Chair), Marilyn Maria, Noreen Feeley, Roni Collins, Roxane Stirling, Ed Tierney(Secretary), Fessehaye Woldesus, Frank Larkin, Martin Sacdalan, and Nicholas Baumgartner.
Elizabeth Millar, Betty Pires, Mike Casey (Secretary), Gerald Libar, David Donnelly, Varun Gupta
Conservation and Development Committee
Yosien Burke, Naomi Day, Betty Pires, and Federico Faravelli
Parish Centre Committee
Creating a safe environment
Safeguarding in the Catholic Church in England and Wales
Safeguarding and the practice of love, honesty, respect, support and accountability are essential parts of our Catholic ministry and mission.
Every human being has a value which we acknowledge as coming directly from God’s creation of male and female in his own image and likeness. We believe therefore that all people should be valued, supported and protected from harm and we recognise the personal dignity and rights of vulnerable people towards whom the church has a special responsibility.
The Catholic Church and its individual members will undertake appropriate steps to maintain a safe environment for all, by practising fully and positively Christ’s Ministry towards children, young people and adults and responding sensitively and compassionately to their needs in order to help keep them safe from harm.
This is demonstrated by the provision of carefully planned activities for children, young people and adults, caring for those hurt by abuse and robustly managing and ministering to those who have caused harm.
Parish Safeguarding Representatives:
Hannah Moddrel(Sullivan) and Lorraine Redmond
The 4 main areas of a PSR’s work involve:
- Reporting and Responding to all Safeguarding concerns.
- Safe Recruitment of volunteers (including DBS applications)
- Creating a Safe environment in your parish
- Promote a Culture of Safeguarding in the parish.