NEW CHURCH & SCHOOL DEDICATED (1963)
DESCRIPTION & PHOTOS PRINCIPALS
PAST FACULTY & STAFF
SISTERS WHO SERVED
FRIENDS & ALUMNI
Father John Lavelle, with big heart and booming voice, made St. Joseph's
remember priestly service and dedication. He was pastor from 1951 to 1960.
It was he who renovated the old church and extended his service to the
mission in Aurora, and who planned well for the future by purchasing ninety-six
acres of property on Pioneer Trail for future development just north of
the Village of Mantua. In November 1957 he also lead the fund drive for
the first parochial school in northern Portage County.
& Article Below From Nov., 1957 Newspaper (Mantua Record?)
Fund Drive -
Committee direction operation of the drive for $90,000
for a parochial school in Mantua includes, left to right, seated,
Einar Kropp, Rev. John P. Lavelle, James R. Mudler (General Chairman),
Rev. Paul McNally;standing are Robert Macaluso, Bernard Schilling,
Louis Adams (Initial Gifts Chairman), and H.W. Kestila.
- The ladies will lead the way in the drive begun for
a school for St. Joseph Parish, Mantua, at a kick-off dinner last night.
Heads of major organizations serving as captains along with 10 others
left to right, Mrs. Robert McLaughlin, Mrs. John Lesnak, Mrs. Allen Hamburgh,
Mrs. Dallas Vondle, Mrs. William Hafemeister and Mrs. Einar Kropp.
Catholic Parish Launches Drive For $90,000
Officially inaugurated last night in St. Joseph parish hall, Mantua,
was the drive for $90,000 to be used to build northern Portage County's
first parochial school. The plot of land is adjacent to the new Crestwood
School and has sufficient room to handle future contemplated expansion.
Father Lavelle envisioned the day when all of the St. Joseph facilities
would be located on the parcel - including a new church, rectory and
convent for the nuns expected to staff the school when it opens.
Plans are based upon surveys made by Father Lavelle and his assistant,
Rev. Paul McNally, of new allotments in the upper portion of the county.
These show large numbers of families in these settlements are prospective
if not already actual members of the parish.
Nearly $10,000 in pledges already obtained was reported to the assemblage
More than 250 persons - parishioners and friends of the parish - were
on hand to hear the drive chairman, Ross Mudler, and his assistants
outline the needs for the new school and the manner in which they will
attempt to canvass the parish for pledges.
The drive really is for more than $100,000 with the 90,000 needed for
the elementary school planned and the balance to go into a Catholic
Central High School fund for Portage County.
"What was good enough for your grandfathers is not going to be
good enough for your children." Rev. John P. Lavelle told the enthusiastic
group present at the loyalty dinner.
"Our parish, like our town, is too old to remain static,"
the pastor said.
"We have to get new blood into our fine village and share the load
in the educational burden that is rightfully ours," Father Lavelle
He outlined preliminary plans which call for erection of an eighth grade
school building on land already acquired by the parish.
Fr. Francis Hughes came to Mantua in 1960, St. Joseph's parish was facing
a financial crunch. At the same time, there were plans to establish a
parish school. He addressed these challenges with vigor in his unobtrusive
way combining a mix of boundless energy, humility and a spirit of cooperation.
September, 1962, prior to the completion of the new church and school
on Pioneer Trail, Fr. Hughes opened St. Joseph's first "school"
in the basement of the church at 4571 Prospect St. (grade 1) and the facilities
across the street loaned by the Hilltop Christian Church (grades 2-4).
The "old church" on Prospect St. in Mantua Village was bought
by the Crestwood School District Board of Education in 1968 and is currently
used to house Special Services. At this same time, the rectory at 4565
Prospect St. in Mantua (next to the "Old" Church) was also bought
by Crestwood School District & is used as Board and Administration
with zeal and selflessness continued the plans of his predecessor and
brought about the building of the first portion of a million and half
dollar dream of a parish complex on the new property - a church, school
and auditorium (our present building). In 1963, under his direction, the
parish has realized its goal to erect a parochial school.
nearly a century of spiritual service to the
Catholics of Mantua, St. Joseph's formally dedicated its
new church and school on Sunday, July 28, 1963.
Most Reverend Emmet Michael Walsh, Bishop of Youngstown, officiated at
a fitting prelude to St. Joseph's Centennial, which occurred the next
"new" St. Joseph Church & School in 1963
you will find a copy of the letter that Father Hughes wrote to parishioners
upon the 1963 dedication of St. Joseph Church and School . . .
My Dear Parishioners,
This new building
is a memorial to all those who have contributed in any way to its realization,
beginning from the initial step of purchasing the land, which was accomplished
under the guidance of the former pastor of St. Joseph's, Msgr. Lavelle.
However, this grand edifice is primarily and principally a memorial
to all those who sacrificed to finance this noble project. Those who
prayed won the favor and blessing of Almighty God who allowed the work
to proceed; due to financial support of many parishioners permission
for the building program was gained from our revered bishop, Most Rev.
Emmet M. Walsh.
This fine structure
will, in addition, be a tribute to all those who will be zealous to
pray that God's continued help will be forthcoming to assist us in meeting
this new obligation; likewise it will be a lasting monument to all who
will be conscientious in contributing from their earnings to pay off
What greater memorial
or tribute can there be than to have your name and life associated with
a building dedicated to the honor and glory of Almighty God and the
eternal salvation of the immortal souls of men.
new school was part of an educational building which housed a temporary
church; eight classrooms; a kitchen and cafeteria, which can double as
a social hall for parish activities; administrative offices; a bookstore;
restrooms; and service areas [the plan was to eventually build a permanent
church and use the "temporary church" space as a gymnasium and
convert part of the hall into classroom space]. Located off Pioneer Trail,
on one of the highest points in Portage County, the new church and school
unit was designed by Architect Charles J. Faroni. The
first Mass in the new church was First Communion.
Joseph's Annual Ox Roast Fair was started in 1964 by Fr. John Wirtz (Associate
Pastor under Fr. Hughes) to help pay for the new school. The
Ox Roast Fair now directly supports the educational and sacramental ministries
of St. Joseph's Church and School. To learn more about the history of
the Ox Roast Fair, please click here.
enlisted the services of the Dominican Sisters of Akron, whose pioneer
spirit and dedication made St. Joseph the recognized school that it is
today. They lived in The Faragher House that was purchased, renovated
and used as the Convent (building still exists today as a private residence
on the corner of St. Rt. 44 & the entrance to Crestwood High School
& is pictured here).
Joseph School description and photos from
the church and school dedication booklet . . .
"Another front entrance, which features modern ornamentation, opens
into a corridor which affords easy access into the church or lower level
school area. This hallway also leads into the kitchen and cafeteria."
"The cafeteria can be used as a social hall or all-purpose room,
providing a church-centered place for meetings and recreation for all
age groups. There is ample space in the cafeteria to create four meeting
rooms in part of this all-purpose hall. If needed, this space can also
be used for classrooms."
floor school area includes two classrooms, administrative offices, a
checkroom, religious article store, a book store, rest rooms, lay faculty
and Sisters' lounges and a boiler room and janitor's shop. The boiler
room houses two oil-burning furnaces, an incinerator and a hot water
tank. This lower level school area also has it's own entrance on the
right side of the building."
second floor features six classrooms, a library and rest room, in addition
to the choir loft, which overlooks the church proper [this choir loft
is now our computer lab]."
In September of
1963, St. Joseph School had five grades and continued to add another
grade each year. At that time, three school buses provided the children
with transportation. For more history of St. Joseph Church, click
Francis Hughes came back as interim pastor March-July in 1988 after Fr.
Trimbur left the parish. Fr. Hughes especially loved the children and
the thriving school, his dream come true from 1963. [On September 3, 1995,
the parish hall was named and rededicated the Rev. Francis Hughes Hall.]
To learn more about the leadership of St. Joseph Church, click
sadly, in 2010 St. Joseph School had to close due to declining enrollment.
For more history of St. Joseph School, it's faculty, staff & principals,
or for alumni & SJS Trust Fund news, please click buttons to the left.
Joseph Catholic School was in existence
from September, 1962, until June, 2010. Prior to the completion of the
new church and school on Pioneer Trail, Fr. Hughes opened St. Joseph's
first "school" in the basement of the church at 4571 Prospect
St. (grade 1) and the facilities across the street loaned by the Hilltop
Christian Church (grades 2-4). Climaxing nearly a century of spiritual
service to the Catholics of Mantua, St. Joseph's formally dedicated its
new church and school (current facility off Pioneer Tr.) on July 28, 1963.
In September of 1963, St. Joseph School had five grades and continued
to add another grade each year. Since 1983, the K-8 program included an
all-day Kindergarten and a middle school approach to the upper grades
that addressed their unique needs.
these years, St. Joseph School developed a reputation as a progressive
learning institution providing a well-rounded curriculum complimented
with a Catholic based foundation of equal importance. St. Joseph's offered
an open and welcoming environment to members of the school, parish, and
surrounding communities. Collectively, St. Joseph offered a place to worship,
a place to learn, and a place to gather with family and friends.
you have attended and/or graduated from
St. Joseph Catholic School in Mantua, Ohio,
please visit www.Facebook.com and
"St. Joseph's School Mantua - Memories" Group
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