A History of our Parish Community
In response to a summons to take God’s Word to Macedonia, Fr. Lloyd Boymer, the then associate pastor at St. Barnabas parish in Northfield, began a street-by-street census of the village of Macedonia. He identified 503 Catholic families living in Macedonia who worshipped at St. Barnabas. After almost a year of study, Fr. Boymer submitted reports to the Diocese of Cleveland showing the need for a parish to serve the faithful in the rapidly growing Macedonia area.
Given that Paul wrote to Titus in Macedonia (circa 56 AD), and given that a new parish was to be formed in Macedonia, OH, Bishop Clarence Issenman founded the parish and intended to place it under the patronage of St. Titus. Fr. Boymer, because of his love of the Blessed Virgin and dedication to Mary under the title of the Patroness of the Americas, convinced Bp. Issenman to place the name under the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe instead. The diocese purchased thirteen acres of farmland, located on Shepard Road, as the site of the new parish. On Saturday, October 7, 1967, Bishop Clarence G. Issenmann established Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and named Fr. Boymer as its founding Pastor.
On Sunday, October 8, 1967, the Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe gathered at Ledgeview Elementary School to celebrate its first Mass. Each weekend, for more than a year, volunteers took chairs from the parish garage, brought them to Ledgeview, and set-up the church for weekend Masses. An 1830s vintage farmhouse, which served as rectory and parish offices, also housed the chapel where Baptisms and weekday Masses were celebrated.
In August of 1968, ground was broken for the present worship space. The cornerstone was laid in May of 1969, and the first Mass was celebrated on August 15, 1969, the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. In the months between the first Mass and the dedication, which took place on October 7, 1969, painstaking efforts were made to complete the facility; two hours before it was to be dedicated, workers were still installing carpet!
Though the congregation was one-third our present size, a large worship space was constructed to meet anticipated growth of the Macedonia area. With need for only half the available worship-space, a wall was built and the Northern half became a social hall.
The 1970s were a time of great growth at Our Lady of Guadalupe. By 1979 the parish had grown to 850 families and the social hall was soon outgrown; additional facilities were needed to accommodate the growing number of concurrent activities. In May of 1979, ground was broken for an addition that would include a chapel, one large meeting-room and a resource center. The large meeting room (which now houses Fr. Shemuga’s office, the Marian Room, and the St. Cecilia Room) had three accordion dividers to allow for room partitioning and was center-most to the addition. To the south of the large meeting room was a Chapel (which has become the parish office) and to the north of the room was a Resource Center (which is now the Juan Diego Room). This new space encouraged continued parish growth and provided additional space wherein to hold parish functions: both spiritual and social (e.g. Christ Renews His Parish, Pre-Cana, Spaghetti Dinners, Lenten Fish Frys, etc).
On June 13, 1983 Fr. Lloyd Boymer retired as Pastor. Fr. Phil Pritt was named OLG’s second Pastor by Bishop Anthony M. Pilla on June 13, 1983.
During the 1980s, Fr. Pritt established the Core Community to focus on planning a course of spiritual growth and service to the parish. This entity envisioned a movement to reach out and involve more lay people into its commissions.
Under the Core Community the parish religious education program (once known as CCD, and later as the Parish School of Religion) became known as Community Catechesis (CC) in 1984. At one point, because of a lack of available space on premises, students met in Catechists homes. As time passed, arrangements were made for the junior high CC classes to meet at Nordonia High School and for elementary CC classes to meet at Ledgeview Elementary School.
The Core Community was also instrumental in bringing North Coast Renew to OLG. This program of spiritual renewal invited parishioners to gather in each other’s homes to pray and reflect on God’s presence in their lives.
Under the guidance of Fr. Pritt, our parish instituted collaborative Ecumenical Meetings and Prayer Services with other local Churches. Fr. Pritt was also an advocate of many parish social events. We bid Fr. Phil Pritt farewell in September of 1992 with a Mass and reception.
Fr. Joseph Lehane was appointed the third Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He arrived at OLG just in time to celebrate its 25th Anniversary in October 1992; Bishop Pilla was principal celebrant at the liturgy, and a gala reception followed in the social hall.
The 1990s marked a time of significant growth and development for OLG. With a continually growing parish, the rectory had become too small to meet the secretarial and staffing needs of the parish. In 1992, after 25 years at the rectory, the parish offices were relocated to the parish center.
By 1994, the partitioned worship space no longer provided sufficient seating for an increasing population. Under the guidance of Fr. Lehane, and with the assistance of countless others, plans were established that would allow for the greater number of parishioners. The renovations included: removal of the partitioning wall erected between the church and social hall, designing and ordering a sanctuary mosaic, purchasing pews for the entire space, and the creation of the present Blessed Sacrament Chapel. The present worship space has seating for 765 people, which can easily be expanded to 1,000 with the addition of more pews.
In the years following the 1994 renovation, OLG became vividly aware of its need for a large space for social events. In the later 1990s, serious consideration and discussion was focused on building additional meeting and social space. While no specific designs were established at the time Fr. Lehane departed the parish, in January 2000,the need for additional space was dire.
Fr. Lehane departed OLG on January 31, 2000, and to allow the diocesan process of appointing another pastor to flow smoothly, Fr. Theodore Marszal was named Administrator pro tem. From February 1st through April 30th of 2000, Fr. Marszal, with his warm smile and affinity for icons, provided spiritual leadership and direction.
On May 1, 2000, Fr. David Trask was appointed the fourth Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In his two-and-a-half years at Our Lady of Guadalupe he has helped the parish to realize some of its long-anticipated dreams. The social area, lost in 1994 with the expansion of the worship space, was restored in 2001 with the construction of a 9,000 square foot addition. Bishop Martin J. Amos dedicated this addition on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe 2001. Fr. Lloyd J. Boymer, our founding Pastor, was present to witness the many ways the seeds of his planting have matured over the past 35 years!
OLG is a parish that is growing as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary in 2017. Father Kevin C. Shemuga was appointed pastor by Bishop Richard Lennon on March 1, 2016. On June 25, 2016 Bishop Lennon Installed Father Kevin as pastor. At that liturgy, both Bishop Lennon and Father Kevin affirmed our faith community by challenging us to continue the fine works of holiness accomplished through these 50 years.
Many events are schedule for this fiftieth year. As we grow and look forward, the goal of the parish community is to serve the needs of our community by our prayer, especially at the Sunday Eucharist, to evangelize through welcoming all to our Church, and to have special love for the poor through our various ministries. The Pastoral Council, Finance Council and Parish Staff are working together to accomplish these goals. We invite you to become part of us by participating in the Sunday Eucharist and living this prayer through compassion, mercy and love in our great City of Macedonia.
OLG is presently a parish of nearly 1,400 families, and is still growing. Each one of us, who is a part of the family of Our Lady of Guadalupe, is strengthened and nourished by the faith and love of others. As we look back at the past 50 years, it is impossible to mention all the individual contributors. We need only to look around us to see how richly we’ve been blessed for all our efforts done in His name.