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The Parish : Parish History

Massillon, Ohio was just 13 years old when early Catholic settlers to this area founded a parish in 1839. Neue Katholische Mutter Gottes Kirche (translated to The Catholic Church of St. Mary, Mother of God) was chosen as the name for the new parish.

The early founders of the parish included signers of the first deed with the last names of Bamberger, Bauman, Boerner, Ertle, Frease, Hammersmith, Heiser, Hoke, Kegler, Kutscher, Miller, Paul, Ress, Runser, Seifert, Schmidt, Vogt, Witt, Yingling, and Youngbluth. Descendants of these early parishoners remain activer parishoners today.

The first church building was erected in 1842 and the first school was started in the church basement in 1849. After an arson fire in 1852, the small church was rebuilt in 1853 and used until the current church was occupied in 1880.

In 1902, the current rectory building was constructed. The convent was built in 1916. The school buildings were constructed in 1929 and 1951.

In 1943, the Youngstown Diocese was formed out of counties formerly part of the Cleveland Diocese.

In 1973, Father James Kolp succeeded Monsignor Edward Labbe as pastor of St. Marys.

The Monsignor Labbe Center was dedicated in 1981. In 1989, St. Mary's celebrated the sesquicentennial (175th year) of its parish.

In the year 2000 Father Edward Gretchko succeeded Msgr. James R. Kolp as the 24th pastor of Saint Mary's Parish. In the same month Father John-Michael Lavelle was assigned to Saint Mary's as our present associate pastor.

(Taken from church history in the sesquicentennial parish directory written by Alice Boerner McLinden in 1997)