As a multi-cultural parish family, Saint Patrick’s is dedicated to enriching the spiritual life of our community through faith in Christ and the Eucharist. We are a welcoming sign of permanence amidst a neighborhood of change, striving to provide love, trust and support to all.
History of St. Patrick’s Church of Youngstown
In 1911, Bishop John P. Farrelly of the Cleveland Diocese, which also included Youngstown, recognized that the growing numbers of parishioners at Saint Columba Church necessitated the establishment of an additional church, Saint Patrick’s, on the city’s south side. On May 24, 1911, Saint Patrick Parish was born.
The leadership of its priests and the generosity of its parishioners has made Saint Patrick’s a beacon of hope in the heart of the city. “As a multicultural parish family, Saint Patrick’s is dedicated to enriching the spiritual life of our community through faith in Christ and the Eucharist. We are a welcoming sign of permanence amidst a neighborhood of change, striving to provide love, trust and support to all.” (Mission Statement)
On Pentecost Sunday, June 4, 1911, the new members and their first pastor, Father Charles A. Martin, celebrated their first Mass in Saint Columba Church Hall. A six-room frame house on the corner of Cleveland Street and Oak Hill Avenue was rented for eighteen dollars a month. It became the first rectory, and daily Mass was celebrated there. This house still stands and was sold in 1991 to CHOICE, a local housing rehabilitation program. In 1912, groundbreaking for the present rectory was held, with an addition to the house and a garage being completed in 1920. A gift from a parish benefactor covered the cost of a complete renovation of the rectory in 1990.
Property for the California-style mission church was purchased in June, 1911 and was erected in five months, with dedication on November 12, 1911 by Father Edward Mears, pastor of Saint Columba Parish. Plans for a permanent church of Gothic design were begun in the early 1920s. Those plans progressed under the direction of Father Martin and subsequently, of Father Edward A. Mooney, who served just three months before he was appointed to the North American College in Rome, Italy. He was later named the Archbishop of Detroit and elevated to the rank of Cardinal.
Groundbreaking for the new Saint Patrick’s Church occurred in 1923, during the pastorate of Father William A. Kane. The cornerstone was laid in 1924 and the church was dedicated in 1926. Father Kane was noted for establishing and administering Saint Patrick Parish Camp, which later bore his name, Father Kane’s Camp. Here children enjoyed outdoor life in the Lake Milton area.
Father Kane initiated the Novena to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in 1933 and this service continues each Monday morning along with Mass for the day.
In the intervening years since 1933, the people of Saint Patrick’s were blessed by the leadership of Father Maurice J. Casey (1938), Monsignor Alfred J. Heinrich (1952), Father Arthur DeCrane (1965) and Monsignor P. Breen Malone (1967). Monsignor Malone brought the message of the gospel to the problems of the day – war, race relations, and world hunger. He led the parish in implementing changes in the church following Vatican II.
Saint Patrick Church was designated the Pro-Cathedral when Saint Columba Cathedral was destroyed by fire in 1954. While the cathedral was being rebuilt, ordinations, religious professions and all official diocesan ceremonies were celebrated in our church.
Father Vincent J. Lisi became pastor in 1979. He initiated a development fund for Saint Patrick School and promoted a successful capital fundraising campaign which continues to this day as the Preservation/Restoration Fund with monthly contributions from the members of the congregation.
Upon Father Lisi’s resignation in 1985, Father Edward P. Noga became pastor. Under Father Noga’s leadership, several changes to the church environment were made:
- Several pews at the main entrance were removed to create a gathering space.
- The original Baptismal Font was reworked and refurbished, then relocated to the entranceway.
- Using the same design, a parishioner made a new oak altar, ambo, lectern and presider’s chair.
- The organ and piano, along with space for the choir, were moved to the main body of the church.
In 2001, a restoration project for the interior of the church was undertaken at a cost of $300,000 covered totally by contributions from parishioners, foundations and friends of St. Patrick’s. As part of this process, all seventy-two stained glass windows were removed and repaired; some of the wooden frames were replaced; brick and sandstone walls were pressure-washed; ceilings were cleaned and refinished, light fixtures were rewired; ceiling fans were replaced; the pews were re-aligned and inserts were provided for wheelchair accessibility.
After six months of gathering for liturgies in the church hall, the congregation returned to a cleaned and restored main church in 2001.
Creating a parish mission statement and parish five-year plan in 2001, parishioners were challenged to bring real life to the magnificent holy space that stands at the top of Oak Hill.
Through discussion, discernment, and learning from urban ministry in the region and around the country, the parish has grown to better minister to one another, the neighborhood and the broader community by taking a vital leadership role in several collaborative efforts.
ACTION (Alliance of Congregational Transformation in our Neighborhoods) started in 1998 and counts sixteen congregations, two religious orders and two organizations in this faith-based group of committed people who have had a positive impact in several areas of community concern.
The parish that bears the name of Patrick has begun an extended and ongoing relationship with Saint Brendan Parish on the city’s westside. The staffs of the parishes create regular opportunities for both congregations to interact, pray and learn together. Most recently, both parishes brokered their closed school buildings into a new charter school venture for special needs students.
Saint Patrick Parish has struck up another relationship with Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Slidell, Louisiana. Our Lady of Lourdes was one of the most severely damaged parishes following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The parish youth and young people are guided ably and regularly by a dedicated team of youth leaders and advisors. They participate in many civic activities as well as serving the parish in various roles. Annually, with adult chaperones, the older high school students spend a weekend at Genesee Abbey with the Trappist Monks.
CHRIST RENEWS HIS PARISH, a parish-based intensive retreat experience, is in its third year. Participants are enlivening every aspect of parish life. Close to seventy-five parishioners have made renewal.
As the parish looks ahead to its centennial in 2011, updating of the church proper continues with the re-leading of all the stained glass windows. On the horizon is the creation of a new devotional side chapel to honor Saint Patrick, Saint Martin de Porres and Our Lady of Guadalupe. This chapel will reflect the diverse neighborhood around Saint Patrick’s and the growth of new ethnic members within the parish. New property acquisitions in recent years have expanded the immediate parish boundaries and negotiations are now underway with HABITAT for HUMANITY to put one or two new homes within walking distance of the church.
The current struggles of parish life in one of the highest crime areas in the city is a constant reminder that our ministry needs to continue to reach out further and further. Our current reality also reminds us of the prayer support that is the very life and blood of the parish.
We work hard at Saint Patrick’s and we pray hard. We have fun at what we do, and we party a lot to express our joy in the Lord. We are blessed with wonderful and generous parishioners, and we are supported by an army of former parishioners and friends who believe in our mission.
PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!