Parish History


A barn in the area of Ten Mile and Martindale Roads of South Lyon was the first building used by the budding Catholic community, but it was never called Saint Joseph Church. The barn was also shared by the Presbyterian Church for some time. Eventually the barn was purchased for $500-$600 by prominent local resident Jim Duncan. He gave the deed to the daughters of his personal friend and neighbor James Woods, with the purpose of presenting it to local Catholics. The two daughters gifted the deed to the Catholic community, and oversight was transferred to Saint Patrick Church in Brighton.

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The barn continued to be used as the place of worship for the Catholic community until a mission church was built in 1910 at North Lafayette Street and Able in South Lyon. Often described as the little brick church near the railroad tracks, St. Joseph Mission Church was sold in 1970.

A new church was dedicated by the Diocese of Detroit in 1910 and Saint Joseph was chosen as the patron. By the time Father Hennessey officiated at the first mass, parishioners had donated all the labor and the new mission church was paid for in full. Less than 20 families belonged to the mission church at that time. Family names included Bridson, Comiskey, Fitzgerald, Gaffka, Gilligan, Glenan, Kennedy, Laughton, Marshall, McMahon, Monahan, Ryan, Warden, Wood, Sr. and Zella.

In 1913 responsibility for Saint Joseph mission was transferred to Saint Mary Parish in Milford and several priests served in the following years, including Fathers Dowdle, Dalon, Foley, Haney and Mahoney and Rybinski, until 1965 when Father Edmund Battersby was named Saint Joseph’s first pastor.

Saint Joseph continued to grow, and with over 222 families at that time, a new church and rectory were dedicated by Cardinal Dearden, Archbishop of Detroit, on December 20, 1966 at the present location of 830 South Lafayette in South Lyon.

Several priests have been part of the growth of Saint Joseph since its inception including Fathers Leonard Partensky, Gerald Nitoski, Monsignor Albert Matyn, Howard Vogan and Ken Chase. Since July 2010 Father Stan Tokarski has been our pastor.

In 2015 Saint Joseph Church celebrated its 50th Anniversary. We are proud to welcome more than 2750 families as part of our growing community. We invite you to come grow with us!