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Renew St. Joseph’s–Restoring a Stratford Icon


In 2017, St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church at 96 Huron St., Stratford, Ontario, will celebrate its 150th anniversary. This church serves the community of Stratford and the neighbouring countryside, and is many things to many people. This place is a centre of faith, hope, and love in our community; it is a well-known landmark in Perth County; it is a place where people join together in large numbers each Sunday; it is a place where we gather to celebrate the sacraments of the Catholic Church; and it is a place where we gather in times of joy and sorrow to draw comfort and support from our fellow parishioners and citizens.


St. Joseph's is a feat of gothic architecture, with vaulted ceilings and wonderful acoustics. The roof structure is an engineering wonder, with connections that slide and breathe, allowing the building to live through our variable Canadian climate. The church was built of Guelph cut stone and Brantford white brick. John Holmes of Stratford was in charge of the masonry. John Turner from Brantford was the architect. The carpentry work was done by the firm of Wright and Durant from London, and the stained glass windows were the work of R. Lewis’s Stained Glass Works, London.


In 2010, we began major restoration work on this historic building. It is our goal and dream to complete this huge project in 2017 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the church. We need to raise $4 million dollars to see this project to the end. To date, we have raised $ 2.4 million. We have faith and hope in our future--and we ask for your financial support. If you would like to make a contribution to this project, please contact our office at 96 Huron St. Stratford. Our phone number is 519-271-6722; our email is stjimcstrat@dol.caHelp us renew and restore this Stratford icon.


- Father Dick Bester


Stained-glass window project


St. Joseph church is a venerable and beautiful part of the heritage of both the Catholic Church and the town of Stratford, Ontario. Preserving that heritage for coming generations has involved a lot of hard work, and resources of various kinds. Below is a letter from our pastor, Father Dick Bester, and Martin Ritsma, head of the fundraising drive for the restoration effort; it regards the purchase of stained-glass windows to be installed in the church. These windows represent a particularly stunning opportunity for people to participate in the restoration effort through a sponsorship/naming opportunity. We hope that both parishioners and those interested in the preservation of our beautiful church will read it with interest.


Dear Parishioners.


As you know, much of the work has been done on St. Joseph's Church. We are currently over half-way to our goal of four million dollars. The next part of our fundraiser, and a big part of it,will be the project involving the stained-glass windows.


Many of you have been waiting patiently and asking about the stained-glass windows. We are now In a position to offer a naming opportunity for this part of the project. We are inviting you to sponsor a stained-glass window in recognition of a family member or a loved one. [Below] Is a diagram of the windows and the donation level of each window. A plaque Is being designed for the naming opportunity and the committee will review the donor's wording request. A tax receipt will be issued for the monies that you donate.


As a committee, we thank you for your generous support to date on this major project. With your continued financial support and prayers, St. Joseph's Church will remain a focal point of a large faith community serving us well into the future.


Those who are interested, please contact Martin Ritsma at or 519 271-1279.

Yours In Christ,

Father Dick Bester and Martin Ritsma


Sponsorship/naming of stained-glass windows--prices


Pictures of the restoration in progress (autumn 2016)


Watch as our beautiful St. Joseph's is transformed, bit by bit! Here are some photos from early in the process. We'll add more soon!