St. Joseph Parish dates back to 1879 when the first church was erected as a mission of St. Mary, Help of Christians, in Winfield. The parish buildings, circa 1907, included a convent, a new church and a rectory – all along 30th Avenue. The current rectory was built in 1928; the current convent building in 1938.
In 1880, the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville (Amityville Dominicans) purchased a plot of ground to build an orphan home on 43 Street, opposite the parish property. The house accommodated as many as sixty children at a time and still stands. At that time, Father Eisele approached the Sisters and asked if they would also take care of educating the children of the parish, and they agreed. Therefore, it may be said that St. Joseph’s School dates back to1880.
The current main school building was erected in 1917 and the new wing was dedicated by Bishop Kearney in 1954. From the late 1950’s through the next decade there were yearly over 1600 students enrolled in Kindergarten to eighth grade. Class sizes averaged 55 students in the sixties in comparison to an average class size today between 20 and 25. The first lay principal was appointed in September 1998.
Beginning in the early 2000’s, the diocese began a process of strategic planning –Preserving the Vision – which included a plan to incorporate the parish schools across the diocese separate from their respective parishes. In September 2012, St. Joseph Catholic Academy was awarded its own charter from New York State, and a new chapter in the history of Catholic education at St. Joseph was begun.
Today, St. Joseph remains one of the largest of the academies within the Brooklyn diocese with an enrollment of approximately 500 youngsters in Nursery through eighth grade. St. Joseph Catholic Academy serves the families of six parishes within its surrounding area in Astoria and Long Island City – St. Joseph, Most Precious Blood, Corpus Christi, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, St. Rita, and St. Patrick.